Local authorities' Twitter feeds have had a consistent refrain of late: people are driving too fast during the coronavirus pandemic shelter in place time period.
As someone who has left the house only for necessary purposes relating to either work or to grab groceries, I've only driven every few weeks or so. But, every time I've driven of late I have thought to myself about how remarkably foreign it feels. It takes me a minute to get my bearings and to truly feel at ease driving again.
More than that, though, as I look around and observe the other drivers on the roads, it is apparent to me that they must be feeling what I'm feeling in terms of an adjustment period. It seems like, now, with regularity when I am driving I am seeing people fail to yield right of way in obvious right of way situations, for example. Thankfully, I haven't yet witnessed a crash, but I have seen many close calls.
In a lot of ways, to the extent there are fewer cars on the road during this coronavirus pandemic shelter in place time period, one could easily assume that that would translate into a safer driving environment and safer road conditions. However, between what the authorities are saying about what they've observed and through my own observations I understand that is simply not the case.
The May 5, 2020 installment of KGW8's “Driving Me Crazy” by Chris McGinness sort of encapsulates this phenomenon. You can find a link to that here: “Driving Me Crazy: The Rules Still Apply During COVID-19 Pandemic”. The sub-headline for the article reads: “A stop sign still means stop. Speed limits are not mere suggestions, and we still yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.” A dash camera video taken of a pedestrian crossing the road in North Portland, shared in the article, is a truly egregious and shocking close call which could've resulted in a young woman being badly injured or killed.
Safety is a global issue right now and although we must stay distanced from each other to remain safe, it is more important than ever that we pull together in the sense that we all try to conduct ourselves in a way that benefits the community and the greater good. A great place to start is out on the road.