Nationwide traffic patterns changed radically on March 13, when the federal government declared a state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With businesses closed from coast to coast and workers sheltering in place, commercial truckers suddenly had the highways to themselves.
Now, a new report sheds some light on how drivers responded to the sudden drop in traffic. In a study titled The Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis on Driving Behaviors, researchers at mobile asset management provider Teletrac Navman analyzed data collected from the company’s connected vehicles during the first 36 days after the order took effect. What they found were some distinct shifts in driving behavior, including:
“It is interesting to see how … drivers behaved with lighter traffic congestion,” Ben Williams, director of marketing, digital and analytics for Teletrac Navman, said in a release. “Fewer vehicles on the road should translate to safer driving conditions; however, these insights reveal that might not be the case. We hope these findings serve as a reminder that we should all follow safe driving practices whether the highway is full or empty.”