If you are experiencing cabin fever from being self-quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you are not alone. For the past two months, the roads have been eerily uninhabited as people largely adhered to the government’s mandate to shelter-in-place. With many businesses closed, where could we go anyway? During this time, it is not surprising that there has been a sharp reduction in motor vehicle accidents. According the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), there has been a 40% to 50% reduction in accidents since the stay-at-home orders went into effect in mid-March and work-from-home policies were implemented. 
1. Watch for more pedestrians and cyclists
With many COVID-19 restrictions likely to remain in place for awhile, you can expect to see more cyclists and pedestrians on the roads, especially on warmer days. Always look behind and beside you, particularly when making turns, pulling into a parking spot, and opening your car door. Also, slow down at all crosswalks and stop to give pedestrians the right of way.
2. Beware of distracted drivers
Rhode Island has a hands-free driving law but that doesn’t mean people still don’t text/talk and drive. However, mobile devices are not the only distraction drivers face. Remember, your car is not the place for multi-tasking, so you should not be doing things like brushing your hair or putting on makeup (yes, this is actually a common occurrence). Always be aware of others on the road and drive attentively and defensively.
3. Ignore aggressive drivers
Many people are feeling frustrated right now and they may take their frustrations out on other drivers. If you witness someone driving erratically, tailgating or cutting someone off, you really should report the incident to the local police before they cause an accident. At the very least, you should get as far out of their way as possible. Playing games or retaliating will just make them angrier. The quicker you can distance yourself from the aggressive driver, the safer you will be.
4. Use caution when driving in the rain
Rain can impair your visibility while driving, as well makes roads slippery as it causes oil to rise to the surface and make asphalt slick. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are almost 1.3 million weather-related crashes every year, with nearly 73% of those accidents happening on wet pavement (not in snow or sleet) and 46% during the actual rainfall. Always use extra caution and reduce your speed when driving in inclement weather.
5. Never drink and drive
We can’t state this one enough. With bars and restaurants closed but social distancing restrictions eased, many people are getting together at friends houses to drink and socialize. In addition to putting others at risk, a conviction for DUI in Rhode Island or OUI in Massachusetts will dramatically affect your life. At a minimum, you can expect to get arrested, pay significant fines, have your license suspended, and possibly go to jail, depending on the severity of your DUI.
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, the first thing you should do is file a police report, seek medical attention right away and reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who will protect your rights against insurance companies who will always try to get you to settle for less. For more tips on what to do after an accident, read our blog: Eight Critical Steps You Need to Take If You’ve Been in a Car Accident
We at Sheeley Law understand this is a challenging time. As we all try to resume some sense of normalcy, please be safe and healthy. Remember, we are here for you if you or a loved one is injured in an accident. Attorney Ann Sheeley has more than 25 years of personal injury experience and will treat you with care and compassion, while fighting to get you maximum compensation for your injuries, losses and pain and suffering. For more information and a free consultation, contact Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.