- Written by Duncan
It has become more dangerous on the roads since the economy has collapsed. New drivers are forced to cut costs, as safety takes a back seat to frugality. Accident numbers are on the rise. Wrecking yards and hospital emergency wards are working at above normal levels. Driving examiners report that the failure rate for driving tests is at an all-time high.
Scientists in our underground bunkers in the frozen North have been looking into traffic psychology, which covers the human and environmental factors that influence our driving behaviour. They have learned that poor driving is shaped by far more than carelessness or a subset of "problem drivers".
It turns out that people who are victims of the bad economy, are more likely to behave aggressively behind the wheel, underestimate minimal safe braking distances, and drive under the influence of cheap red wine. Many drivers, who could no longer afford their morning espresso, experienced more symptoms of road rage in the mornings and driving while drowsy later on in the day.
Driving is one of the most complicated behavioural tasks we accomplish in our lives. Economic changes can seriously disrupt this complexity with devastating results. As the economy tanked, some drivers subconsciously compensate by driving faster, following other cars more closely and flipping the bird more frequently.
One driver, who could not affort to take their car to a car wash ended up driving into a neighbor's pool in a frustrated attempt to clean their vehicle.
High gas prices have forced some drivers to steal aviation fuel and use it in their cars. Those cars can then experience sudden and unexpected busts of speed as the higher octane pushes them out of control, perhaps crashing into a daycare. We suggest driving carefully whenever you are near an airport and avoid parking next to daycares.
New drivers are not exempt from the affects of the bad economy. Many students cannot afford sufficient lessons to become competent drivers. They often arrive to take their road test without knowledge of safe driving techniques, or even how to turn on the ignition. Fortunately, the examiners in most cases work tirelessly to keep these students from causing a danger to themselves and others, until such time as the economy improves.
Rising insurance costs in this economic freefall force many drivers to simply give up paying the premiums in favour of putting food on the table. Uninsured drivers add another element, on top of all the dangerous driving. If you survive an accident, you are unlikely to be able to claim anything from the other driver's insurance. Some states offer uninsured driver coverage, which protects you at an additional premium cost.
As we have regularly pointed out, the bad economy has hit healthcare badly. A consequence of this is that there are more sick drivers on the roads, with slower reaction times and less than perfect judgment. Any number of sick drivers could be circling the roads around your neighbourhood as you read this article. With the current flu epidemic, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.
But possibly the worst thing to do is to try to put on a brave face and sing a happy tune while driving. Even when singing a song you know by heart, your brain has to work to remember the melody and the words. This increases the workload on your brain and in turn makes it harder to react to dangerous situations. This is no joke. People who sing while driving are a danger to themselves and others, and it needs to stop before someone you love gets hurt or killed.
Many drivers in colder climates no longer have the financial means to purchase snow tires, and are currently driving around in all season tires, slipping and sliding all over the place. If the weather outside is icy, we suggest you stay home until the weather thaws or take the train. If you take the train be sure to wear your sub-micron surgical face mask to protect from all the viruses from the other passengers.
Finally, in addition to the dangers from other drivers, be aware the conditions of the local bridges. In this economy, the spending on infrastructure has been cut back to the point that some bridges are almost at the point of falling down. Therefore we recommend you not drive over or under any bridges in the area, until the economic climate improves.