Nothing lasts forever. Just ask U.S. environmentalists, who celebrated when pollution eased during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Did you know that, once the federal and state governments began to lift travel restrictions, Americans hit the road in droves? For example, a significant increase in vehicular use in the New York metropolitan area occurred in mid-May. A similar trend quickly emerged in Chicago, as well as our own state of Florida, and it is anticipated that drivers in cities across the nation will follow suit.
Of course, more traffic brings renewed potential for more congestion, more pollution, more accidents, and more headaches. Let us take a look at some tips for getting back behind the wheel if you have not driven in a while.
1. Make sure your car is safe to drive. Before you do anything else, make sure your car is safe to drive. This is not as hard as it sounds. A quick, but thorough, inspection may reveal minor and potentially significant issues. For example, check the tire pressure and look for evidence of damage. While you are at it, make sure the headlights, tail lights, and turn signals work. Do not forget to check under your car for leaks. If you are not sure whether the leak is serious, or what type of fluid it is, ask your dealer or mechanic to check.
2. Brush up on the basics. Even if you have had your driver’s license for years, it never hurts to brush up on the basics. This is especially important if you refrained from driving during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
You may want to consider taking a defensive driving or safe driver class online to help shake off the rust. If you are not so inclined, here are a few reminders about the fundamentals. First, remember the dangers of distracted driving. Using your cell phone, fiddling with the radio, and eating while you are driving are strict “no-nos.” So is anything else that forces you to take your eyes off the road for even a second. Leave extra space between you and the car ahead, do not speed, use your turn signals, and so on. Be cognizant of other drivers and try to anticipate sudden maneuvers. Be prepared to take evasive action when necessary.
3. Look out for new drivers. Newly licensed drivers may be hitting the road in increased numbers after not going out to practice during COVID-19 lockdowns. Put your own experienced defensive driving skills to work by giving these new drivers more space. The benefits of experience should not be overestimated and the dangers of inexperience should not be underestimated.
The road can be a dangerous place even in the best of times. Add in countless travelers desperate to get out after COVID-19 lockdown and the dangers can exponentially increase. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, we may be able to help. To learn how, call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.