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