People across New York are leaving their homes more frequently now that stay-at-home orders have come to an end, and businesses across New York have started to reopen. As you begin to drive again and interact with others outside of your home, it is crucial to be aware of specific hazards you might face. Right now, two significant concerns are; exposure to COVID-19 and the increased risk of accidents on the road.
Police officers across the country have reported more fatal car accidents during COVID-19, despite fewer cars on the road. Due to reduced traffic, many drivers are making reckless decisions behind the wheel and disregarding basic driving laws.
If you are planning to get back on the road in New York and Long Island, it is crucial to take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones from the coronavirus and accidents caused by reckless or careless drivers. We have provided the following driving safety tips to help you protect yourself and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that many locations have reopened for business, you likely have more reasons to leave your house, whether to go to work, dine at a restaurant, or run errands.
If you must go out, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you ask yourself the following questions to understand what risks you may face:
- How many people will I interact with?
- Is it possible to maintain a six-foot distance from others?
- How long will I be outside of my home?
- Is COVID-19 spreading in the area I am traveling to?
- Will I have to share items with other people?
- Have I felt sick recently? Has anyone in my household felt ill?
- Do I have underlying conditions that make COVID-19 more dangerous for my health?
It may not be possible to avoid leaving your home entirely, but asking yourself these questions can allow you to assess your risk and take appropriate precautions to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Remember to Sanitize Your Vehicle
If you need to leave your house, driving in your car is one of the safest travel options available. You can control who is allowed in your vehicle, and you can maintain a safe distance from other people on the road. However, every time you enter your car, you introduce new bacteria and germs from the location you just left. This could unintentionally bring COVID-19 into your vehicle.
To ensure that your car is a safe environment, you should keep your vehicle as clean as possible if you are driving during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the best ways to keep your car’s interior clean include:
- Disinfecting commonly used features, like the steering wheel, radio, gear shift, and door handles.
- Having hand sanitizer easily accessible, so you can clean your hands before touching anything in your vehicle. This is especially important if you have to use communal items like parking meters or gas pumps.
- Increasing ventilation throughout your car by opening the windows or turning off the recirculation mode on your car’s air system.
If you share your car with anyone else, you should make sure that they know and follow these cleaning procedures as well. These important driving safety tips could help reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure while in your vehicle.
Follow COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
Through lockdown and travel restrictions, New York has made significant progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19. However, as the state reopens and more people return to their normal activities, continuing to follow health and safety guidelines is the best way to protect yourself and others.
The CDC recommends that everyone practice the following precautions:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after you have been in a public space, and when you cough, sneeze, blow your nose, or use the restroom.
- Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, if you cannot wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose while in public.
- Maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and others
- Wear a face mask while you are in public spaces.
Following these guidelines is not only a smart choice but, in many places, it is required. On April 17, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that made face masks mandatory whenever you are in public and cannot maintain social distancing. It is important to note that you do not need to wear a mask while in your car, but you should always keep one with you to use when you arrive at your destination.
Exercise Caution While Driving
Anytime you drive, you need to pay close attention to the road and take precautions to avoid a car accident. However, this is even more important during the coronavirus pandemic, especially if you have not driven for several months. The National Safety Council reported a 14% increase in traffic fatalities during the pandemic, due to speeding drivers and an increase in reckless behavior on the road.
To avoid an injury accident, remember these essential driving safety tips:
- Obey traffic lights and signs
- Drive at or below the speed limit
- Wear a seatbelt every time you are in the car
- Perform routine vehicle maintenance, especially if your car was idle during the lockdown
- Check your tire pressure, brakes, and headlights to ensure your car is safe to drive
These simple tips are vital to remember if you are getting back in your car for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Practicing safe driving is one of the best ways to protect yourself as you return to your normal activities during COVID-19.
The New York injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., are committed to protecting those who’ve been hurt in our community, and we have continued to do this important work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or a loved one have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, Finz & Finz, P.C., will be ready to fight for you. Set up a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today by calling (855) TOP-FIRM or by reaching out to us online.