The Impact of the Pandemic On Traffic in the US - OHS Body Shop

Hardly can you name an industry or an aspect of our everyday life that has not been affected by the Pandemic of COVID-19. Millions of people had to revise the way they work and study, bring up their children and communicate with friends, etc.

But there is one more thing that has changed in America significantly due to the Pandemic, although we don’t really discuss it as much as economy and education.

Many people discovered that after that Lockdown was over, they were free to travel or had to go back to their offices and schools. They felt like their driving habits and the willingness to drive in general went through some severe changes.

In this article, we decided to talk about how the Pandemic has affected traffic in the United States and see whether those changes can become long-term or are likely to fade away with time.

Covid traffic paradox

The Pandemic and the Lockdown caused by it have led to a phenomenon that experts often call “The COVID Traffic Paradox.”

Although the density of traffic has decreased dramatically since the quarantine restrictions came into effect, and there naturally were much fewer accidents, those that occurred turned out much more severe than usual.

While Americans drove about 13 % fewer miles in 2020, yet fatal crashes rose by 6.8%. 

However, this “paradox” is pretty explainable. Driving on empty roads, people tend to lose concentration, exceed the speed limit, and often neglect seatbelts. All those are the main reasons for severe car accidents.

Another factor is that neither drivers nor pedestrians were expecting to face any traffic at all and therefore were much less cautious in the streets than normally.

Last but not least is the so-called “distracted driving” factor. Many drivers and pedestrians were too busy taking pictures and making videos of deserted cities on their social media to notice each other.

Seems like this issue was supposed to fade away as soon as life got back to normal. But unfortunately, the current situation shows that the amount and severity of accidents have only been growing over the past two years.

It happens due to a number of reasons:

  • People got used to a carefree driving and speeding and continue to do so even when the traffic is back to normal;
  • Many people didn’t drive for a while at all and therefore still feel less confident on the road, especially while surrounded by more aggressive fellow drivers;
  • Many drivers neglected or broke their vehicle maintenance schedule during the Lockdown and still didn’t manage to go back on track and ensure the safety of their vehicles.

While the current situation is pretty concerning, most experts agree that if people return to a normal car maintenance schedule and get used to going back on the road on a daily basis, the issue will probably fade away naturally during a year or two. In the meantime, stay safe on the road.

Do people prefer public transportation over driving today?

Americans have always been into driving much more than using public transportation. However, during and after the Pandemic, the number of drivers increased even more.

It is pretty understandable as, during the Lockdown, public transport simply didn’t work in some areas, while people still needed to get around somehow. And now, when the restrictions are lifted, many simply got used to the comfort of their private transport over public busses.

Another reason is that many people switched to working from home and simply don’t have to get to the office, look for a parking place in a bust city area or waste time in traffic jams. Those were the people who preferred public transport before the Pandemic. Now they get out of the house to take kids to schools and curriculums, do shopping or visit friends and family and find cars more comfortable than busses.

However, due to the issues with the supply chain, the current situation in Europe, and other factors, the cost of fuel is growing dramatically this year. It may change the situation once again.

Whether you spend most of your day behind the wheel or drive only on weekends or family vacations, the safety and comfort of your car are essential.

Contact OHS Body Shop to make sure that your vehicle is in perfect condition and that all the necessary repairs are done on time. Our branches are located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson. Here you will find qualified mechanics, quality products, and services – everything to get the most out of your driving experience.