October 11, 2021

Higher Auto Insurance Rates! ARE you the Cause?

How distracted driving affects auto insurance rates

Distracted driving and the effects on Auto Insurance rates

Our insurance agency receives hundreds of inquiries from people searching for lower auto insurance rates daily.  In many cases, we discuss some of the reason why car insurance rates continue to rise.

Even though vehicles are becoming more sophisticated with technology, to keep us safer, the cost of insurance keeps going up.

The problem, in most cases, is human error.

Not because people are becoming dumber behind the wheel, it’s the lack of focus with the job of simply driving. 

Distracted Driving Auto Insurance

Once we get passed the nervous first few weeks or months learning how to drive a car, we now think it’s okay to add a little more challenge in the mix. Kind of like riding a bike with NO hands.

By becoming aware of real and potential distractions in your life, you can reduce your risk for accidents, and insurance rate increases.

Why distracted driving affects car insurance rates

3,450 lives were claimed in the United States in 2016 due to distracted driving, which also caused 391,000 auto accidents. Although drivers frequently seek out ways to reduce their auto insurance premiums, the one area that is most frequently overlooked is staying focused while on the road. Despite the many PSAs and messages that condemn distracted driving (especially texting and driving), too many people still engage in these behaviors.

In one survey, 14% of people "said they read text messages or emails while driving," and "nearly half (48%) of drivers admit to answering their cell phones while driving."

The statistics become even more shocking when looking at teen driving behavior. 

Among teen drivers surveyed, "one-fourth of teenagers respond to at least one text message every time they drive.

" Additionally, "10 percent of all teen motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2016 involved distracted driving." Whether caused by daydreaming, texting, or fatigue, distracted driving can increase your insurance premiums at best. At worst, it could injure or even claim a life.

Thankfully, distracted driving habits can be overcome with a bit of effort and the use of effective strategies. Explore some of the ways your brain might be putting you at risk behind the wheel.

Also, discover some of the top strategies for combating these sources of distraction.

Physical distractions

Are you a distracted driver and higher auto insurance rates

Modern life is busy. As a result, people frequently try to multitask while driving. From eating, to texting, to checking social media pages, many individuals believe that they are productive when multitasking behind the wheel. Research has actually proven this belief to be false. Something as simple as listening to someone speak while driving reduces your focus by approximately 37%.

 Therefore, you can only imagine how little your brain is focusing when performing an activity that is more involved.

Rather than trying to accomplish tasks on the road, set a schedule for yourself every day that will help you complete your to-do list before leaving home. Additionally, consider giving yourself extra time each morning to prepare for unexpected tasks that need to be done first.

Having good mental clarity while driving should always be your top priority.

Lack of sleep

Research that was released in 2017 revealed that “79% of Americans are getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.”

Symptoms of sleep deprivation include forgetfulness, irritability, fatigue, and a lack of concentration. All of these symptoms can quickly lead to a dangerous situation while driving.

In order to reduce your risk of an accident, and increased auto insurance premiums, it is crucial to prioritize your sleep. Set a timer to remind yourself when it’s time for bed. Begin going to bed earlier to ensure that you get a minimum of seven to eight hours. When you take steps to get more sleep, you’ll notice enhanced concentration while behind the wheel.

Conditions that cause impaired focus

Occasionally, certain conditions (such as ADD or ADHD) can cause you to become distracted while driving. Even if you are someone who never texts or multitasks on the road, these conditions can turn almost anything into a distraction.

More specifically, studies with The National Resource for ADHD have found that "adults with ADHD have a higher risk for poor driving incidents than adults without ADHD." The same organization states that "the untreated symptoms of ADHD in an adult driver can impair the driver's ability to drive in such a way that it resembles intoxicated driving."

To reduce the risk to yourself and other drivers, the most obvious way to stay safe is to create a plan to manage your condition as best as possible (if you have not done so already). The National Resource for ADHD also recommends "leaving cell phones and MP3 players put away or turned off, along with not eating or drinking [to] help to increase attention and prevent accidents."

Distracted driving insurance costs

- Daydreaming

Although it may sound harmless at first, daydreaming is the #1 distracted driving threat while on the road.

Research has found that of the top 10 distractions that cause fatal car crashes, 62% can be directly attributed to daydreaming or being "lost in thought." This number is even more shocking when compared to the 12% of distracted driving fatal car crashes that were linked to all uses of cell phones. 

What is also scary about this distracted driving habit is the difficulty in stopping this behavior. Unlike with other causes (such as physical distractions, a lack of sleep, and medical conditions), there isn't always a clear way to resolve the issue.

So how can drivers prone to daydreaming combat the #1 threat to safe driving? The key lies in keeping your mind active, focused, and alert.

First, take alternate routes whenever it makes sense. As you take the same routes over and over, it becomes easier for your mind to wander. When you take a less traveled or even a brand-new route, your mind is forced to be far more attentive. Next, make it a point to look at different views of your surroundings every few seconds.

Staring at the road ahead can be dull and cause your thoughts to quickly drift. Finally, make it a point to think about the purpose of your drive. When driving, you are generally traveling to a destination. Whether it be work, home, school, or a date night, your purpose is to get to a destination safely.

Many people use their drive time to relax and take a break from the daily stress and pressure of life. However, using your drive for this purpose can rapidly cause you to become wrapped up in your thoughts. Resist the urge to relax behind the wheel, and instead focus on your purpose.

While often overlooked, the brain can (and does) play a major role in staying safe behind the wheel. If you believe that you might be too distracted when you drive, use one or more of the strategies above to keep you and your passengers as safe as possible.

Has it been more than 2 years since you checked or compared auto insurance rates?

You might be surprised how affordable some companies are now selling insurance..  

But, who has the time to contact 3, 5 or more insurance companies?  Giving the same info over and over, just to find out there's little to no savings.

What's The Answer To Finding Better Insurance Rates

Let an Insurance Broker do the work for you. Shopping 10 -20 or more companies at one time and you only provide your information once.  Now that's a real time saver and probably a nice money saver as well.

Do what thousands of people do every day.  Ask an auto and home
Insurance broker to check local rates that fit your budget.  

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John Espenschied is a long-time veteran of the insurance industry. He's worked with thousands of clients over the years, helping to protect their personal and business needs. John's goal is to provide the best advice possible to assist customers in saving money while protecting their property and securing their financial future.
He truly enjoys helping others and takes great satisfaction in providing top-notch customer service. When he's not working, John has fun spending time with his family, golfing, bike riding, and blogging on insurance topics.