Maryland Motorists: Are Your Driving Skills Rusty Due to COVID-19 Isolation?

Many residents of Maryland kept their cars in park the last few months, due to statewide shutdowns of businesses and schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that restrictions are being lifted as the state slowly gets back to business, some motorists may find their driving skills have become rusty.

If you’re one of those Maryland drivers who’s feeling a little out of sorts behind the wheel, you’re not alone. The last few months of coronovirus restrictions saw a vast reduction in daily commutes and road travel. Now, with Maryland businesses reopening and people moving about more freely, drivers getting back behind the wheel may fall into old, bad driving habits. This, combined with sharing the road with new teenage drivers, could lead to increased motor vehicle accidents this summer.

What’s worse? A majority of motorists admit to knowing dangerous driving habits are wrong, but too many engage in them anyway. The AAA Foundation has released its findings from a national survey on the top dangerous driving offenses for 2019. To learn more about those—and the percentage of motorists admitting to them—read on….

Distracted Driving: A majority of drivers view typing (96.2%), reading (94.3%), and talking (79.7%) on a hand-held cellphone while driving to be very or extremely dangerous. However, 43.2% report having talked on a hand-held cellphone while driving within the past 30 days.

Aggressive Driving: More than half of drivers (55.1%) indicate that speeding on a freeway is dangerous, while about 64% of drivers perceive speeding on a residential street as dangerous. More than 65% of respondents think that freeway drivers going 15 mph over the speed limit will get pulled over by police, yet 48.2% report having done so in the past 30 days.

Drowsy Driving: About 96% of drivers see drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous, and even more socially disapprove of drowsy driving. However, only 29% think drowsy drivers risked being caught by the police. And about 24% of drivers nationwide admit to having driven in the past 30 days when they were so tired, they could barely keep their eyes open.

Impaired Driving: Most drivers (94%) perceive driving after drinking as very or extremely dangerous. However, almost 10% admit to having done so in the past 30 days. Nearly 70% of drivers consider driving shortly after using marijuana to be very or extremely dangerous, while 91% of drivers socially disapprove of driving shortly after using marijuana. And when it comes to operating a motor vehicle while using prescription drugs that could cause impairment, most drivers (88.3%) view that behavior as very or extremely dangerous.

So whether you’ve been driving throughout the COVID-19 crisis, or you’re just getting back behind the wheel after months stuck in the driveway…be careful out there on our Maryland roadways this summer. Rusty drivers and bad driving habits—and novice drivers out on the road—are a dangerous combination. And, unfortunately, though most people understand what dangerous driving behaviors are—that doesn’t mean they’re not guilty of them.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Warning Maryland Parents: AAA’s “100 Deadliest Days” for Teenage Drivers Underway June 2019


AAA 2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index
AAA Foundation  Collected online June 26, 2020


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