If you've noticed that since Covid people are driving more recklessly, you're not alone. According to a study quoted in Fast Company: "People are driving over 100 miles per hour 20 percent more often than pre-Covid-19. And accidents, when they do occur, are happening at faster speeds--a full 50 percent faster than usual."
What I've noticed is not just more speeders, but also more tailgating. Every time I'm on the highway, I see packs of cars in adjacent lanes, all separated by about a single car-length, even though they're going 60-plus miles per hour. This is a pileup waiting to happen.
Obviously, when the crazies hit the road (and I've noticed a fair number of the nutcases are flying flags), the sensible among us must drive more defensively. However, there's a piece of expert advice about driving that actually puts you in greater risk of being seriously injured in a car wreck--the position of your hands on the steering wheel.
Unless you took driver's ed quite recently, you were probably told to hold your hands on the steering wheel at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. Carmakers actively encourage this positioning. The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan, for example, has special grips at 10 and 2 to encourage drivers to hold the steering wheel "correctly."
Unfortunately, that advice dates from before airbags became standard gear. You see, when you're in any serious collusion, your airbag literally explodes from the center of the steering wheel. If your arms are in the way of the airbag, they'll likely be broken badly.
I know this from experience. Even as I type this, my right hand is in great pain because, about a year ago, I broke both my arms in a car accident. Because my right arm was in front of the steering wheel, the two bones in my upper arm were shattered, bending my arm into an "S" shape. (My left forearm was snapped near the elbow.)
Let me tell you, it's no picnic having both arms in a sling. Even if you're lucky enough to have family members to help you out, you're virtually helpless. Also, if you're lucky enough to recover, the pain of having your nerves grow back when your bones are encased in metal is truly mind-bending.
I've finally gotten back to touch-typing, which is good for me as a writer because voice recognition software basically sucks. Even so, every keystroke on my right hand feels like a hit on my funny bone. Each tap sends a shooting pain all the way up to my elbow. This is not fun, trust me.
I couldn't figure out how my arm had gotten so bent up until I watched a recently produced driver's ed video with my Gen-Z daughter. It explained that the safest way to hold the steering wheel is at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock, and to turn the wheel by shuffling hands in alternation, so that your arm never gets in front of the steering column.
If I had known that, the accident would have still been serious, but I likely wouldn't have ended up so seriously injured. So don't make the same mistake I made, especially since the chances have gone up that you'll get into a serious accident.