Is COVID Making People Drive More Recklessly?

Driving is a privilege that some confuse with being a right. There are rules and regulations by which every driver must abide while behind the wheel. These are in place to keep everyone on the road safe. After all, cars are heavy machinery, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1.35 million people will die each year due to car accidents across the globe. In the United States, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 54.

These statistics alone should be enough to ensure everyone lucky enough to own and operate a vehicle follows the rules of the road, but that’s not true for all. In fact, dangerous behaviors such as reckless driving are all too common – and may have become even more so during recent times. This leads to the question: is COVID making people drive more recklessly? Let’s find out.

What is reckless driving?

Reckless driving is defined as a willful disregard for the safety of people or property while operating a vehicle. In the United States, the laws surrounding reckless driving are clear; it is considered to be a major moving traffic violation. Although some may think that reckless driving is similar to careless driving, the two are not one and the same.

Some examples of reckless driving include speeding, tailgating (not leaving sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front), not using turn signals, running stop signs or red lights, drunk and distracted driving, and failing to yield to right-of-way laws on the road. The consequences of reckless driving can be serious. Aside from causing injury or traffic accidents, a driver who is caught reckless driving can be fined or imprisoned, or have their license suspended or taken away.

person driving car on empty road at night
Image by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash: Is speeding during COVID-19 on the rise?

Is reckless driving on the rise?

A report published by the National Safety Council in 2019 found that motor vehicle accidents causing death were actually decreasing. Between 2017 and 2018, they decreased by 2%, and then again between 2018 and 2019 they decreased by another 2%. The reasoning behind the decrease is not entirely known, but the report suggests that new laws and regulations, such as lowering the legal alcohol limit, go hand in hand with mitigating reckless driving.

However, pedestrians have paid the ultimate price for reckless driving in the past. According to the CDC, specific reckless driving incidents involving alcohol use account for close to half of all pedestrian accidents, with 17% of those being the driver who was under the influence. In terms of pedestrian fatalities, those numbers had also decreased by 3% from 2018 to 2019. Those downturns in deaths could be attributed to lowered rates of reckless driving – but after 2019, that has changed. 

Reckless driving during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taking its toll on the world in various ways since early 2020, and when it comes to reckless driving, it has played a hand in increased traffic incidents. According to an article published in the Washington Post, it took only three months into the pandemic for drivers to begin engaging in reckless driving behaviors such as speeding. This has led speed-related crashes to increase as well.

With empty roadways caused by lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, many who were out on the roads began to speed well over the limit. The assumption is that with less cars on the road, these drivers believed they could get away with it; however, for many people disobeying speeding laws, crashes ensued. The same article in the Washington Post stated that 42 people lost their lives in car accidents in the 45 days following the implementation of the state’s first pandemic stay-at-home order. (In the same period of 2019, only 29 people suffered the same fate on Minnesota highways.)

empty highway road at night
Image by Sebastian Staines on Unsplash: With empty roads, some “crazy” drivers during COVID-19 have come out of the woodwork to drag race and perform other dangerous driving maneuvers.

Emptied roads have left room for people to drive recklessly, and multiple reports of drag racing, speeding, and driving well over the legal speed limit have been reported across the country. Although there is less traffic (down 41% overall across the country), the increase in traffic incidents is a cause for alarm.

Driving safely is the main thing people can do to lessen the risk of fatal or serious car accidents. Reckless driving may have been on the rise during the pandemic, but those who are part of the problem should know that driving is a right and not a privilege. Driving safely is a responsibility and should always be treated as such, no matter the circumstances of the road or the world at large.

Featured image by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Valet Parking And COVID: Everything You Need To Know To Stay Safe

Valet parking can be super convenient. It allows you to relax and not worry about finding a parking space during busy times in busy locations. At hotels, restaurants, and casinos, being able to avail of valet parking means you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time searching for a parking space. Having your vehicle parked by a valet can be quite the luxury!

As a disabled driver, you benefit from valet parking because it means you can exit your vehicle directly in front of your destination and therefore have less distance to cover. Valet parking can make a disabled driver’s life a lot easier. But during the COVID pandemic, when social distancing is being used to prevent the spread of infection, is valet parking a safe option? While valet parking is helpful and convenient, could it also be risky during the coronavirus pandemic?

Today we will discuss valet parking and COVID, detailing everything you need to know to stay safe.

What Is Valet Parking?

Valet parking is when an attendant (i.e. a valet) takes your vehicle and parks it for you. The valet will give you a ticket; when you need your vehicle again you show the ticket and it will be returned to you.

Valet parking exists to save you the bother of searching for a parking space. It is most typically offered by businesses to their customers, and is common at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and stores.

Dr Handicap - valet
Image by Olichel on Pixabay: Should I valet park during coronavirus?

What Are The Benefits Of Using Valet Parking?

The benefits of using valet parking are:

  • Time saving
  • Less hassle to find a parking space
  • Less distance to walk from vehicle to destination

The benefits to a business of offering valet parking include:

  • Fitting more customers in by parking vehicles efficiently
  • Attracting more customers by offering added convenience

Can I Use Valet Parking With A Disabled Parking Permit?

You can avail of valet parking services if you have a disabled parking permit. In fact, using a valet parking service can be even better than using a disabled parking space in that it usually offers the absolute shortest distance to travel between your vehicle and your destination.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

Not every business offers valet parking, so getting a disabled parking permit is still a very good idea. The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit are:

  • Not being able to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Any condition that impairs mobility to the extent that the use of a walking aid such as a wheelchair, prosthetic device, cane, or brace is required
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • An orthopedic, neurological, or arthritic condition that seriously impairs mobility
  • Legal blindness

Valet Parking And COVID

Knowing how to park safely during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial because the disease is extremely contagious. So, is valet parking safe during COVID? Yes, provided that the valet service implements COVID safety measures.

What COVID Safety Measures Have Valet Parking Services Been Putting In Place?

Wondering “How can I find COVID-safe valet parking?” The best way to guarantee COVID-safe valet parking is to call ahead and ensure the business in question has strict hygiene and safety protocols in place.

To stay COVID-safe, all valets must:

  • Complete a self-screening survey every day
  • Wear disposable surgical masks and disposable gloves while working
  • Properly dispose of PPE
  • Avoid handshakes
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces
  • Wash hands per CDC guidelines
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Follow SAFEPARK sanitization guidelines from the National Parking Association

Is Valet Parking A Higher-Risk Option During The Pandemic?

Valet parking is higher risk during the pandemic because COVID is a contagious disease, and if proper safety measures are not taken, a valet could pass infection on to their customers (or vice versa).

Should I Valet Park During Coronavirus?

If the proper COVID safety measures are taken by both driver and valet, it is safe to use valet parking during coronavirus.

Dr Handicap - parking lot
Image by Jordan Graff on Unsplash: Is valet parking safe during COVID?

What Can Disabled Drivers Do To Minimize Risk When Using Valet Parking?

When you are using valet parking during coronavirus, you can minimize risk of passing on or contracting COVID by:

  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Sanitizing your hands
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle

How Can You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once your disability has been verified by the examining medical professional, they will complete the relevant sections of the DMV disabled parking application form, sign it, and email it directly to you.

Featured image by Paul Volkmer on Unsplash

Parking Your Car At The Doctor’s Office: How To Maintain Social Distance

The coronavirus pandemic is still taking its course in the US. Many areas of the country still have high infection rates; COVID-19 is causing a lot of people to get sick and death rates are still high. There is also a lot of psychological suffering being caused indirectly by the pandemic. People are suffering from stress caused by anxiety, worry, and economic woes.

Even though it is safer to stay at home whenever possible, it is still necessary for millions of Americans to visit their doctor in-person during the pandemic. Many disabled parking permit holders still have consultations they need to attend because they can only be done in-person. For this reason, it’s essential that you know how to stay safe by maintaining social distance when visiting the doctor’s office.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event. The rules around staying safe are new and often subject to change. So, disabled drivers may have a lot of questions about how to stay safe when visiting their doctor for an in-person consultation during COVID-19… What is social distancing? What is the social distancing guideline for COVID-19? How can I safely travel with COVID-19 if I need to get medical care? How do you maintain social distance while visiting your doctor during covid?

We will answer all of these important questions today.

Dr Handicap - social distancing
Image by Tumisu on Pixabay: Maintain social distancing when visiting your doctor and whenever you’re out in public.

What Is Social Distancing?

“Social distancing” is a term most of us had never heard until the beginning of 2020. But now the vast majority of the humans on the planet have heard it (or their mother tongue’s variation, at least!). Social distancing is a public health measure implemented to prevent the spread of a contagious disease. It involves maintaining a set physical distance between people and reducing the amount of close contact people have with each other.

What Is The Social Distancing Guideline For COVID-19?

Social distancing is seen as being a major weapon in the fight against COVID-19. COVID is a highly contagious virus and so stopping contagion, or keeping it as low as possible, is extremely important. The social distancing guideline for COVID-19 is that people should stay at least six feet away from each other, even if neither person has any symptoms of the disease.

There are also various measures that restrict social gathering and household mixing. The specific details of these measures vary state by state.

How Can I Safely Travel With COVID-19 If I Need To Get Medical Care?

Traveling during COVID-19 is not recommended unless it is essential. Traveling to get medical care is considered essential travel. When traveling during COVID, it is crucial that you stay safe by following social distancing guidelines. If you are traveling in your own vehicle, the main danger points are getting to and leaving your vehicle, so maintain strict social distance during these times.

How To Maintain Social Distance At The Doctor’s Office

When visiting your doctor during COVID it is essential to maintain social distance. When parking your car at the doctor’s office, try to park in a space that is not surrounded by other cars. While entering and exiting your vehicle and walking to the doctor’s office, stay six feet away from other people.

Social distancing in waiting rooms is usually quite straightforward because you are only allowed to sit in certain seats that are at least six feet apart. It is important that you always wear a face mask while in the doctor’s office. Finally, wash your hands and use sanitizer after touching any surfaces in your doctor’s office or in the parking lot.

Dr Handicap - parking lot
Image by blickpixel on Pixabay: Stay socially distanced by finding a parking space that is far from other people.

How Do You Maintain Social Distance When Applying For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to maintain social distance when applying for a disabled parking permit is to apply online using telemedicine. The Dr. Handicap online clinic will set up a remote telemedicine consultation between you and a licensed doctor in your state.

The doctor will examine you in order to verify your disability and suitability for a disabled parking permit. Once you have been approved for a disabled parking permit, the doctor will certify any forms needed for you to acquire access to your state’s parking program. It is a quick, easy, and socially distanced process.

Featured image by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash

7 COVID Safety Tips On Cleaning A Car

We’re all trying to do our best to make it out of the COVID-19 pandemic without getting sick. Because there can be some conflicting information out there, it can feel confusing to know which steps to take to stay virus-free. One of the places where you spend a lot of time but might not think about disinfecting is your car. Here’s some information on decreasing your risk of contracting COVID, as well as COVID safety tips on cleaning a car.

How can I reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?

The virus is easily transmitted from person to person, so you should make sure you’re taking a number of precautions to decrease your chances of getting sick.

Wear a mask

The easiest way you can keep yourself and others safe is to wear a mask. At this time, some health experts have recommended that people double up on their masks for maximum protection. Always carry a mask with you whenever you’ll be outside your home; you can even stash a few extras in your car so you’ll always have one on hand.

Stay socially distanced

Stay a minimum of six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household. Keep your distance when running essential errands or if you’re working outside your home.

Only interact with people who live in your household

While the pandemic is still in full force, it’s best to only come into contact with people who live in your household. That means that you should place any plans on hold of getting together with friends or non-immediate family members. If it’s a necessity for you to see these people, stay outdoors, keep your distance, and leave your masks on the entire time.

Dr Handicap - masks
Image by Mike Baumeister on Unsplash: Wear a face mask whenever you’re out in public to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Limit unsafe activities like dining or being around groups of people

High-risk activities, such as gathering in groups or dining inside, should be avoided until your state has lowered their case rates and hospitalizations.

Get the vaccine as soon as possible

The vaccine is your best shot at keeping yourself safe from the virus. Check out how your specific state is handling vaccines so that you’ll have more information on when it’s your turn to get vaccinated.

How can I keep my vehicle safe?

If you’re like most Americans, you probably spend quite a bit of time in your car. Despite your best efforts to keep it clean, you’ll want to take extra precautions during this time to keep your car germ-free. Here are a few COVID safety tips on cleaning a car effectively.

1. Wear masks and use hand sanitizer

If you’re in the car with anyone else living outside your household, make sure to wear masks the entire time. You’ll also need to use hand sanitizer frequently to cut down on the germs on your hands.

2. Provide good ventilation

To minimize the spread of germs, try to have good ventilation in your vehicle with open vents and windows. Having better air circulation can be a simple way to stay safe.

3. Limit food and drink intake

If you’re traveling with other people outside your household, you’ll want to skip eating and drinking in the car since you’ll need to take your masks off to do this.

4. Wipe down touchscreens

Newer models of cars all come with touchscreens, which can be breeding grounds for germs. If possible, use voice commands so you don’t have to touch the screen or have anyone else touch it. You should also regularly clean the touchscreen (most people recommend using a cloth with a mixture of 30% water and 70% isopropyl alcohol). Don’t use any harsh chemicals that might damage the screen.

5. Clean the inside of your car with disinfectant

How should you clean and disinfect surfaces in your vehicle? Make sure to clean your car using disinfectant wipes or sprays as often as possible (at least daily if you have the time). There are some commonly touched areas that are even more important to clean, including door handles, seat belts, the parking brake, the steering wheel, the turn indicator, and the trunk lid. Giving your car a good scouring should help give you a little bit more peace of mind.

Dr Handicap - cleaning supplies
Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: Use cleaning supplies to help sanitize your car as frequently as possible.

6. Get your car detailed

If you want a professional to handle the cleaning, take your car to a car wash to get detailed. Sanitizing your car with high-quality cleaning products can get rid of germs more effectively.

7. Make sure your car is in tip-top shape

Car maintenance during coronavirus is absolutely essential because you don’t want to worry about breaking down somewhere or having to enter any unsafe situations. Take your vehicle for regular maintenance (oil change, brake check, etc.) to ensure that you won’t have to make any unexpected visits to crowded repair shops or dealerships in the near future.

There are many steps you can take to make sure that you’re less likely to contract COVID. To keep your car in perfect condition, focus on upkeep and cleaning it as often as possible. This can help ensure your vehicle is clean and safe whenever you get behind the wheel.

Featured image by Hedgehog Digital on Unsplash

Can I Drive After Getting A Vaccine?

The COVID-19 virus has impacted pretty much everything about our way of living, so it makes sense that the vaccine is so important to moving our country towards a return to normalcy. But because there hasn’t been a mass vaccination effort of this magnitude in recent years, it seems most people are left with many questions about the vaccine. You might be wondering, “How do I get a vaccine appointment?” or “Can I drive after getting a vaccine?” Here’s a breakdown of some common questions about the vaccination process.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The coronavirus vaccine, currently being distributed by two drug companies called Pfizer and Moderna, consists of two shots that you need either three or four weeks apart (depending on the manufacturer). The shots are administered in your arm, just like a flu shot, by a medical professional or pharmacy worker.

The vaccine was developed to help give people immunity to the coronavirus, and it went through multiple clinical trials to ensure its safety. It’s believed that the vaccine is effective in up to 90–95% of people. That means that only a small percentage of individuals who receive the vaccine will end up contracting the virus in the future. The vaccine also helps to make it so that if people do contract the virus, they won’t end up being as severely affected by it.

Dr Handicap - COVID vaccine
Image by CDC on Unsplash: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one way to protect yourself against contracting the virus.

Who can get a vaccine?

The vaccine manufacturers have done successful clinical trials on adults age 18 and up, so anyone who’s not a child or younger teenager can benefit from the current vaccine options. There are still trials being conducted to see whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Right now, most states have begun to vaccinate their frontline healthcare workers and their elderly population (typically over 65 years of age). It will likely be several more months before the general population will have access to the vaccine.

Where can you get a vaccine?

At this time, the rollout of the vaccine to US citizens depends greatly on the specific state you live in. Some states, such as California, have implemented drive-through vaccinations at locations with large parking lots (such as Dodger Stadium) so that people can get in and out quickly.

Head to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to get directions on what sites to head in order to get an appointment for a vaccine if you’re in one of the eligible categories. Those sites can be divided by state or even by county; they’ll inform you what locations near you are distributing the vaccine and how you can sign up for an appointment.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause side effects?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wondering what to expect after the COVID vaccine. Firstly, it is extremely rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (especially if you’ve never experienced negative reactions to other vaccines in the past). In a few very rare cases, people have gone into anaphylactic shock and needed to get a dose of medicine from an EpiPen and visit a hospital.

For most people, side effects are milder and can consist of a slight fever, headaches, and chills. Some people will experience pain or swelling at the injection site. Typically, the pain is similar to what you feel after getting a flu shot. In most cases, these symptoms will dissipate within 24 hours.

Is it safe to drive after getting a vaccine?

For most people, driving after getting the vaccine won’t be a problem. At most vaccine sites, they’ll have you wait around 15 minutes before leaving to make sure you’re not having any side effects from the shot. However, if you’ve had allergic reactions to prior vaccines, you might want to have someone else drive you, just to be on the safe side.

Dr Handicap - mask
Image by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash: It will be important for people to continue to wear masks in public for the near future.

What can I do to stay safe from COVID before and after getting a vaccine?

Before and after getting your vaccine, it’s essential that you wear a mask when out in public and keep social distancing (at least six feet away from people outside your household). It will take a large percentage of the population to be vaccinated before there’s any kind of herd immunity, so we’ll all definitely need to continue being cautious until this happens.

Find out more about getting vaccinated by going to the CDC website or your specific state’s health department website. Don’t forget to report any negative side effects you might experience to your doctor, and then keep wearing a mask for the near future, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash