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Pandemic driving: Time to lock down my car keys

By Mike Morin - For The Telegraph | Jun 13, 2020

Mike Morin

Am I the only one who’s misplaced their driving mojo during the pandemic? Actually, anyone who has been misguided enough to ride in the co-pilot seat with me would claim I’ve never had any driving mojo. With one minor fender bender on my 50-year driving resume, that would seem a bit harsh.

A new survey reports 20% of us have experienced deteriorating driving skills due to being quarantined. Count me as a member of that group. I am happy Main Street in Nashua replaced parking spaces in favor of outdoor dining spot barriers. Finally, I don’t have to worry about being laughed at while attempting to parallel park in front of a packed Martha’s Exchange with patrons hooting and hollering while I scrape the hell out of my forged aluminum wheel covers.

Asking for a friend: Could a Tesla owner sue Elon Musk if one of their self-parking cars overshot the curb and trashed the expensive wheel covers? I’ve become so paranoid, that I will park as far as I can from a store and then call Uber to take me the rest of the way in.

I’m not as bad as one of those “seasoned” drivers that confuses the brake with the gas pedal to create a new drive thru lane at the local 7-11. My inventor friend Eddie refuses to blame COVID-19 for this phenomenon. He believes it is due to the ‘easy access of legal weed’ that puts drivers through walls, violating social distancing with their Buick boats. It’s not easy to see six feet away from anything with pink insulation and ceiling tile debris all over your windshield.

Dan, who claims to have attended Hard Knocks University, works in an auto body shop and told me he has seen harder-hit vehicles lately because he thinks there had been fewer people driving and thus they were going faster, wreaking greater havoc as a result. Makes sense.

But did they? Insurance companies have been giving rebates of up to 15% to drivers while admitting traffic volume was down by 50%. Let’s do the math. I think Flo owes me another 35% based on these unconfirmed numbers. If we figure in Dan’s ‘boom factor’ of worse collisions, maybe 15 % is all we deserve.

The best story I have to share is from Krystle in Manchester who spent some time in Tampa recently. While there were no Tom Brady sightings, Krystle found driving there challenging.

“I was on I-75 heading toward Tampa and people were blowing by me in the other lanes on my left so I thought traffic was going slow. I sped up to try to keep up with traffic and people were still blowing by me. I couldn’t believe I was going that slow, and when I looked down at my speedometer I was doing 97 mph! People are nuts when there are less people on the road,” she exhales.

I’m headed to Pearl Street to practice street parking. Anyone in need of an adrenaline rush?

Contact Mike Morin at mike morinmedia@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @MikeMorinMedia. His column runs the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month.

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