Opinion: Driving Own Vehicle Best Solution During Crisis but Not After

light blue sedan
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

With the advent of the new Coronavirus, the CDC has begun to revisit transportation protocols and to encourage people to distance themselves from others so as to lessen the chances of contracting the virus. They have even gone as far as recommending people to avoid public transport and drive their own cars instead, a statement that, if analyzed further, makes a lot of sense in terms of safety and security, especially in these troubling times.

Though it’s still not a hundred percent clear as to what the nature of the virus is and how it actually spreads, a number of government and independent researchers from around the globe have already proven that public gatherings and congested areas increase the chances of contracting the virus. The same concept applies to using one’s own vehicle. Since driving one’s own vehicle provides an environment where the concept of social distancing is naturally enforced, the safer it is for that person.

commuters sitting inside a bus
It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago, public transport was one of the best options to go from point A to point B. Now, it’s being discouraged by a growing number of agencies and organizations. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Piecing them all together, we get a clear picture as to why this recommendation by the CDC is gaining ground at an astonishing pace. It’s becoming so popular in fact that even though the automotive industry has experienced a dip in their market in the first month into the pandemic, it has shown to tick back upward, particularly with used car dealers across the United States who have seen an increase in their sales over the past months.

Of course, we’re all cheering for the medical industry to finally make a breakthrough and provide us with a vaccine to end this threat once and for all. And with the progress that they have made since the first quarter of 2020, the future does look promising. But with the hopes of normalcy seemingly inching closer by the day, the question that arises for any concerned motorist would be the future traffic and parking condition.

drone shot of Brooklyn Bridge
Photo of New York traffic near the Brooklyn Bridge a couple of years ago, packed with vehicles even after rush hour. Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels.

Let’s backtrack a bit to 2019. According to Tomtom International, New York had a traffic congestion problem of around 37%, an increase of 1% from 2018 where the congestion rate was at 36%. This equates to roughly around 100 hours spent in traffic or looking for a parking spot. It’s clear to see, even without the figures, that traffic is definitely a huge problem in places like New York just a year ago, but with the advent of the coronavirus, these figures have significantly dropped. So much so that the NYPD are now reporting an increase of speeding violations and vehicle-related accidents in areas where you could normally hit a maximum of 10 mph.

It does sound that the traffic problem has now been addressed thanks to COVID. But do take note that this is only a break, a pause in our society. Eventually, we will be able to find a solution to end this in the form of a vaccine and we’ll gradually transition back to normal. Some reports even state that as early as September, the first batch of vaccines may already be administered to millions of US citizens. When that day comes, what will happen to traffic and parking? Surely, cities will go back to being congested, but given that a number of vehicles have been sold to the public this pandemic thanks in part to the recommendation of the CDC to drive one’s own vehicle to avoid contracting the virus via public commute, one may assume that the traffic and parking condition not only in New York, but also in other places as well, may only get worse.

traffic light
It seems that New York’s streets have mostly gotten a break from all the rat race, but for how long will this last? Photo by quendafrench from Pixabay.

It would be wise for government bodies and other concerned organizations and agencies to anticipate the possibility of a spike in traffic congestion once we’re free of COVID-19 to keep it under control. As for vehicle owners, it would also be ideal to invest in traffic and parking app technology that could help assist in looking for better routes or ideal parking spaces. We may not experience such turmoil in a couple of weeks or months, but would you really wait for that to happen before you make the decision to join a membership in a parking app or invest in better GPS?