The Coronavirus Is No Excuse to Drive Like An Idiot

In a normal world, we might be celebrating a significant reduction in traffic — less air and noise pollution, no longer having to sit in a traffic jam just to get somewhere — but this isn’t a normal world. While traffic is down considerably, it appears that some people are taking advantage of stay-at-home orders to show off their worst driving behaviors, according to data from research firm INRIX and the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Related: Coronavirus and Cars: Can I Buy a Car or Have One Repaired in My State?

INRIX, the Kirkland, Wash.-based automotive data analytics firm, reported that passenger and commercial road travel has declined each week for the past four weeks, though it believes that passenger traffic may be leveling off. Compared with normal traffic rates, the national average is down by nearly half, and New Jersey and Hawaii are averaging reductions greater than 60%.

Traffic Down, Speeds Up

Based on what the GHSA is seeing, however, the traffic reduction is encouraging some drivers’ worst impulses, as traffic speeds increase dramatically. In the past month, New York City speed-camera tickets nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, and in Los Angeles traffic lights and pedestrian signals have had to be recalibrated to account for increased average traffic speeds. While crash rates are decreasing in most states, Massachusetts has seen its car crash fatality rate increase, and Nevada and Rhode Island have seen increased rates of pedestrian fatalities. Minnesota, meanwhile, has actually seen both its crash and fatality rates increase.

Don’t Try This At … All

One anonymous group decided the empty roads were the perfect place to set a new “Cannonball Run” record, driving roughly 2,800 miles from New York City to Los Angeles in 26 hours and 38 minutes. This sort of activity is gross in the best of times, but when law enforcement and emergency services are busy trying to keep people alive and healthy, it feels especially reckless.

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Take It Easy on Truckers

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association and the American Trucking Associations have also voiced their concerns about highway safety amid the global health crisis as it relates to shipping and delivery drivers, urging motorists to exercise extra courtesy and caution around larger vehicles.

“As large trucks are hitting the road amid COVID-19 to help move goods and supply essential items to stores and households, drivers of passenger vehicles must remember that large trucks and buses do not operate in the same way as their vehicle,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “Large trucks cannot stop on a dime and have blind spots that make it difficult to see smaller vehicles while on the road.”

Driving may be one your preferred ways to get out of the house while still practicing social distancing, but, please, be responsible.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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