During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increased focus on public health and safety. At this point, we know how important it is to wash our hands regularly and practice social distancing (and the value of these measures cannot be over-emphasized). But are we also thinking about the risks of ordinary accidents that could still happen during this extraordinary time?

No one wants to end up in the hospital for an injury resulting from an accident, especially not while a global pandemic is taking place. Even while most Americans stay home, accidents happen, and there may be factors unique to this time that increase the chances of certain types of accidents. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident during COVID-19, and during more normal times as well.

Drive with Caution

With drastically fewer cars on the road, it can be easy to let our guards down if we have to drive somewhere. A car accident is perhaps the last thing on people’s minds, and with many major highways close to empty, it seems unlikely.

However, with the increased anxiety and panic in American society as a direct result of the pandemic, many drivers may be unusually tense or distracted. People are out of their regular driving routines and traveling faster than usual due to the openness of the roads. So obeying traffic laws and adjusting your driving to road conditions is just as important as it normally is. Avoid driving if you feel too drowsy, stressed, or emotional to safely operate your vehicle.

Keep Shopping Trips to a Minimum

No matter how intense outbreaks and the resulting closures get, having access to food will always be an essential need. However, it’s crucial that people be smart and strategic with their grocery shopping trips. In addition to reducing your risk of exposure to the virus, you can also reduce your risk of a personal injury.

When possible, try to shop before or after peak hours. Pay attention to what’s happening around you and avoid getting involved in any confrontation or altercation with another shopper. Additionally, with stores being so busy and potentially understaffed, the chances of spills and items falling from shelves are higher. Take care to avoid any hazards that could cause a slip and fall accident.

Make Your Home Child-Safe

In many American families, the kids are out of school while their parents are working, either remotely or in essential jobs. This combination of factors means that children are likely more bored than usual and parents likely unable to watch them all of the time. Be aware of potential safety hazards that could be lurking around your property, such as the cleaning supplies you are using to keep your home clean. Now is an excellent time to tighten up your home safety standards. You can do this by working through checklists for poison-proofing, carbon monoxide poisoning sources, and baby-proofing.

Follow CDC Guidelines

In addition to having heightened awareness of accident risks, it’s important to keep following the CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. If there are stricter guidelines in place where you live (or if you are feeling sick or are in a high-risk group), be sure to follow those. There is currently no vaccine, so preventative sanitation practices are key. If you know you have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing the symptoms, contact a healthcare professional from home right away.

Hopefully, the worldwide efforts to flatten the curve of the pandemic will be successful in saving lives and not overwhelming healthcare systems, as scientists race to find a cure. In the meantime, we can all do our part by following guidelines from the CDC and the WHO. We can protect ourselves and others even more by also taking care to avoid risky behavior that could cause accidents and injuries during this time.