How the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted Michigan Drivers

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted Michigan Drivers

by / Wednesday, 17 June 2020 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Woman in car with mask on while applying hand sanitizer

In one way or another, everyone has been feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of people have been working from home rather than from the office, while others have been coping with unemployment. Some have been helping their kids get an education at home or have been simply looking for new ways to stay entertained at home. But one thing many of us have in common is that the pandemic has influenced our driving habits and overall traffic patterns on the road.

Orders for Partial Auto Insurance Refunds

When Michigan’s official stay-at-home order went into effect, lots of people saw a significant decrease in the amount of driving they typically do. With so many businesses temporarily closed, there simply weren’t many places to go. People didn’t even have a lot of their mundane day-to-day driving trips like taking the kids to school or commuting to work to worry about for a while.

With so much less driving being done, a lot of people started questioning if it was fair to be paying the full amount of their usual auto insurance premium at a time when they’re driving so much less. Not only were people driving less, many people were facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic.

In response, some auto insurers voluntarily started issuing partial refunds or waivers to their members, but not all insurers did. In June 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued an order requiring all auto insurance companies to issue partial refunds or waivers to policyholders. Insurers were also required to notify policyholders about other options available if they are facing long-term changes in their driving habits, such as if they are now working from home on a permanent basis or have been laid off.

Car Accidents Became More Severe

The fact that fewer cars have been on the road because of the shutdown doesn’t mean car accidents dropped to zero. In fact, despite the fact that people have been driving less in Michigan, preliminary data shows that fatal car accidents haven’t decreased at the same amount they should have in proportion to the decreased number of miles traveled.

Unfortunately, with fewer cars on the road, some drivers took the opportunity to get reckless with their driving. In many cities around the country, police officials have reported dealing with an increase in speeding drivers. Sometimes, those speeders were caught going well beyond the posted speed limit and were caught traveling at speeds above 100 MPH.

While an open road can seem tempting to drive fast, speed is a common contributing factor in many crashes that result in severe injury or death. Excess speed makes it more difficult for drivers to maintain control over their car and makes it less likely they will be able to safely stop in time if they encounter something ahead of them in the road.

Car accidents can have very serious consequences regardless of when they occur. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Car accident cases involve a legal statute of limitations and if you wait too long, you might be unable to make a claim for damages. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer experienced in helping Michigan car accident victims like you. Contact us today to get started.

Credit: iStock / sasha_suzi