It has been a month and a half since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon, banning non-essential travel. The veritable lockdown means there are fewer cars on the roads. In most parts, traffic is non-existent.
Some enthusiasts might think now is a good time to experience the open roads and simply drive fast. We get their point because let’s be honest, our roads will probably never be this traffic-free ever again. However, speeding on public roads is never a good idea, even more so during a lockdown or quarantine situation whether you're in the Philippines or abroad.
Let's explain why a lockdown is the worst (and possibly dumbest) time to try to let your car loose and break those speed limits.
1. It is easier to get caught because there are no other cars
Since there aren’t many vehicles on the roads, the police and patrol officers will be likely be keeping an eye out for you and your vehicle even more. In fact, it is very likely they will be flagging you down first to ask the purpose of why you’re out of the house. If there’s no valid reason aside from going on a drive, then be prepared to get ticketed and sent back home.
If you manage to get past that, then there’s a very good chance you will be caught if you happen to be over speeding on roads and expressways. It's hard to miss a lone car flying down the expressway if you happen to be one of only a few vehicles there. Also just because quarantine is in place, it doesn’t mean that the speed cameras have been turned off nor are the officers enforcing the speed limit gone. It’s also easier for them to flag you down at toll booths too since you might be the only vehicle passing through at the time.
You're an easy target because there is no crowd to blend into.
2. Increased police/military presence
As mentioned above, there are going to be more police and even military personnel going around town during these times enforcing ECQ. As such, there will be a lot more checkpoints, especially along major thoroughfares and city borders. It will be hard to avoid police or military personnel every time you go out.
More importantly, the very last thing you should do is try to dodge or attempt to outrun them (not that you ever should). This could lead to a very embarrassing and harsh arrest. You could end up spending a night (or more) in a cell amidst a crowded jail– not the place you’d want to be in considering there is a highly contagious disease going around.
3. High-speed crashes are more brutal
With fewer vehicles plying the roads, there are more opportunities to drive crazy fast speeds. We’re not talking about going just 10 to 20km/h above the speed limit. Instead, we’re talking speeds that would have been nearly impossible to achieve without the lockdowns or ECQ in place.
Here's something to remember: the faster you go, the worse the crash can be.
To give you an idea, crashing at around 60 km/h will hurt, but in a modern car with all the safety equipment in place (and being used), there's a good chance you can walk away from the accident. The same can't be said for a crash at over 100 km/h. Quite frankly, if you lose control at those speeds, it is very likely you will end up with life-threatening injuries, if you survive at all.
4. Emergency services are busy
When you do crash because of speeding, emergency services will have to respond to your accident. The last thing they want to deal with right now is a car crash caused by an idiotic drive.
Most, if not all emergency services around the country are focused on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, often ferrying people with confirmed cases to the proper hospitals. As a result, they will very likely take longer to respond. If you do survive, you’ll be adding to their already heavy burden of dealing with patients left and right.
Our frontliners and healthcare workers need rest, and not the added complication of an ill-advised joyride.
5. A hospital is the last place you want to be in right now
Here's the thing: if you do get picked up by an ambulance, you will end up at one of the last places you want to be in right now: a hospital.
On any other day, going to the hospital is fine. But with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing with 7,777 confirmed cases nationwide, you are exponentially increasing your chances of catching the contagion. Though hospitals are regularly disinfected and cleaned, there’s still a possibility of you can catching the disease there. If you’re lucky, you walk out a new person fully recovered from injuries. If you're unlucky, you might end up being the next patient in a quarantine facility.
We should all do our part to help flatten the curve and prevent the virus from spreading. One of the biggest ways of doing so is by simply staying at home. Now if you do need to go out, do yourself (and all of us) a favor: drive sensibly. Yes, it is very tempting to try and hit the top speed with the open roads but, at the end of the day, it does nothing to benefit you.
And no, speeding does not help you run away from SARS-CoV-2. If anything, speeding can bring you much closer to it.