Are Driving Skills Rusty Post-Pandemic?


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected society and culture significantly over the past year and a half. There have been aspects of people’s lives that have been affected or altered somehow because of the pandemic and the restrictions. When people look back on 2020, it truly is amazing to think that most of society and the economy were basically shut down for a significant portion of the year. There are many things that probably will not return to normal no matter how much time passes. The idea of working from home is now fairly common, but prior to the pandemic it was a rarity. Many employers found that it really is not necessary to have employees drive to a central office in order to get the job done. So many people who had to stay home during the lockdowns rarely drove their vehicles because there was no need to commute. As the restrictions have been slowly lifted, however, people are driving more and more. Some are realizing that getting behind the wheel again makes them a little nervous. Their driving skills are a little rusty, so to speak. It is hoped that everyone will drive carefully and get home safely. Being seriously injured in a car wreck can be a horrible experience to go through.

Being Nervous Behind the Wheel Again

First and foremost, it is understandable to be nervous about getting behind the wheel again. Even though most people used to drive on a daily basis, there were some individuals who did not drive their vehicles for weeks at a time during the pandemic. This is especially the case with walkable neighborhoods. With employees not having to go into work as well as the ability to walk to grocery stores and other stores for the necessities of life, it is no wonder that many people were rarely using their cars. A recent study from the United Kingdom has indicated that one out of every five drivers are having difficulty getting back into the habit of driving safely. There has been an increase in minor fender-benders because people are making driving errors that they would never make prior to the pandemic. Some drivers have indicated it is like being 16 years old again and first getting behind the wheel, starting and stopping too much, hitting the gas pedal too hard, and hitting the brake pedal even harder.

But it is OK to have some anxiety about driving again. Being anxious about driving is actually a good thing. Being anxious tends to make people drive more carefully, as opposed to someone who does not care at all and drives recklessly, darting between lanes, driving too fast, and being an overall danger to everyone on the road. It is those careless drivers who cause a significant portion of the motor vehicle accidents on the roads and highways of Maryland and across the United States. Driving defensively can offer some protection from those dangerous drivers, but it cannot always protect innocent motorists and passengers.

Driving Anxiety Tips

Here are some tips to help everyone who is anxious about driving again. These might not be appropriate for every driver, but overall they can help make everyone safer and more comfortable behind the wheel:

  • The first time back in the car after a long break from driving, a motorist can just sit behind the wheel and get used to everything again. It is important to remember the location of all the controls for the lights, turn signal, windshield wipers, and other functions. Drivers should adjust the seat and the various mirrors as well. The goal is to get comfortable with the vehicle again.
  • It is always smart to take simple steps at first, and this rule fits with getting back into driving after a long break. Motorists can take small trips to places and areas of which they are familiar. Driving to stores in the neighborhood is ideal. Avoiding highways, if possible, in order to keep the speed down is wise. Motorists should use local, familiar streets so there is no anxiety about finding someplace new.
  • As always, motorists should not drive distracted. Car wrecks caused by distracted driving have become an epidemic in the United States. Over the past 15 to 20 years with the proliferation of smartphones, people are increasingly being distracted by their phones and causing accidents. Although it is tempting to take a quick look at a new text, all it takes is a second of a driver removing their eyes from the road to lose control of the vehicle. No text is more important than the driver’s health and the lives of all the other people sharing the roads. The focus should be on driving safely and under control. There is no need to eat, talk on the phone, put on makeup, play with the radio, or any other distractions that could pop up while inside the vehicle.
  • Do not drive too fast. Driving too fast for the conditions of the road is always an unsafe thing to do, especially with someone who is somewhat out of the practice of driving. Driving too fast is one of the major causes of car and truck accidents. Either a careless driver is going too fast and loses control of their vehicle, or someone is driving too quickly to be able to stop in time when someone else violates the rules of the road such as blowing through a stop sign or stop light.
  • Similar to not driving too fast, motorists should not rush. Drivers should make sure to allow enough time to get to the destination without having to speed. Drivers should make sure the directions are all set and they leave early with enough time to get there.
  • Driving defensively is important. Even though this cannot protect a driver 100 percent of the time from being involved in a car wreck, it is a good habit to use whenever behind the wheel. Motorist should always assume another driver is not going to follow the rules or is not paying attention. For example, when approaching an intersection, it is wise to assume that the car approaching in the opposite direction will not see the stop sign and stop in time. When going through an intersection with a stop light, always still look both ways even though the other drivers have a red light. Drivers should assume that someone might blow through the red light and hit another vehicle.
  • Check out the vehicle for maintenance issues. This is particularly important if the car or truck has not been driven in a while. Lift the hood and make sure everything is OK with the various fluids such as windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, and oil. Make sure there are no animals under the hood. Inspect the tires to see if they are inflated to the levels set by the manufacturer, and make sure the tread is adequate. Having the vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic is another good idea.

Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help People Seriously Injured in Car and Truck Accidents

Being involved in a car or truck accident can be pretty scary, and especially so if you have been seriously injured. There are a lot of careless and reckless drivers out there causing hundreds of accidents every year on the roads and highways of Maryland. No matter how careful of a driver you are, there is always a chance that you might be injured in a car wreck. The Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are here to help you and your family through this troubling time. We focus our practice on representing injured people and have the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on any defendant, no matter how big and powerful they are. Let us fight for your rights and recover the fair and full compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.