Revised 4/20/2020 (links updated.)
Things seems to have changed since the end of March when it was reported that 85% of Americans traveled to work by car but now, thanks to the virus it seems that congestion is easing. It may be quicker to your designated place but due to the lack of open shops, restaurants and so on there may be less reason to get there.
A Heatmap of Seattle for Instance:
An aerial “heatmap” of the streets shows that the majority of roads have no traffic at all. It’s a similar story with San Francisco but somehow there are still a number of bottlenecks here where congestion has built up. This doesn’t include areas round ports and airports as neither are working at full capacity.
Washington DC seems off-script though as its traffic is up 47℅ and this must surely be governmental traffic. Although other countries are allowing its bureaucrats to govern through computers, the internet and teleworking the USA is taking the all hands on deck approach to governance where they crowd everyone into business as usual and hope John Q Public doesn’t wonder why its safe for them and not you. This is according to Government Executive, a trade journal.
The Northern Boarder:
It’s a stressful period for the Canada/US borders. Drivers who test positive for Corvid-19 may be denied entry and have to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone passing through must state whether they have a cough or fever.
There wasn’t any legislation against services like Fed-Ex when crossing these borders at the end of March, but this appears to have altered.
If this situation continues trucks will find it difficult to reach shops and there will be a shortage of product if this carries on much longer. Although food trucks are still allowed to operate there’s a break in the supply chain. As well as food trucks, equipment for hospitals and raw materials (such as materials to build ventilators, masks and soap) must be transported. So, its hard to really be critical of what is and what isn’t “essential.”
Because of the urgency of these journeys, some regulations about off-road breaks have been suspended, meaning that they might work more than 14 hours a day. They have been told to stop driving if they feel drowsy.
While some states are allowing restaurants in general to remain open others have restricted all but Drivers’ cafes, but usually only to serve take out. There are reports of truck drivers taking care to wash down their trucks and wash their hands. It’s important to stay vigilant at this time.
There is a curfew in New Jersey between the hours of 10am and 5pm so it’s impossible to drive at night. At various state boundaries checkpoints have been set up with officers wearing masks and keeping their distance from drivers. Every road sign in the nation is now broadcasting some sort of reminder to stay home, it seems.
You are still allowed to use buses or Ubers at this time. Many cities however have a shelter-in-place order where you can only leave home to receive food or medical supplies.
We don’t know how these procedures will be continue but it seems in order to stay safe we should stick to them for the time being, if for our own safety.