Study: Atlanta’s traffic is lighter after COVID-19, but it may be more dangerous

ATLANTA — Metro Atlanta businesses are slowly reopening and people are returning to work, but traffic remains much lighter after the COVID-19 pandemic and there are also some changes to the way people are driving.

Triple Team Traffic’s Mark Arum says he’s definitely seeing lighter than normal rush hours but, “the crashes we do see are way more severe. Just horrific crashes.”

A new study from Teletrac Navman looked at data from 100 million miles driven by connected vehicles all over the country.

Comparing the five weeks after state leaders ordered a shelter in place to the weeks before the pandemic hit, they’ve found people are driving much differently.

That included:

  • 17% increase in speeding
  • 15% increase in harsh cornering events
  • 10% increase in stop sign violations

“So people are either doing rolling stops or going through stop signs, which was a really interesting finding about how people are actually behaving and how that has changed since the roads became so much less busy,” said Ben Williams with Teletrac Navman.

“We wanted to uncover this data to help people think about their behaviors and take a second thought before putting their foot down, or going through a stop sign, or turning aggressively,” Williams added.

Arum thinks that we won’t see bumper-to-bumper traffic again until at least when school returns in the fall.