Safe driving saves money, lives, property, and injuries. When you drive safely and defensively, you are greatly reducing the likelihood of causing injury to yourself and others. You can also be rewarded for your skills behind the wheel with reduced insurance rates and discounts. Safe driving saves lives, and it can save you money too.
Safe Driving Saves Lives!
There are so many reasons why it is important to drive safely. Of course the top reason is to prevent serious injury or death. Safe driving saves countless lives every year and you can help add to that number.
Driving is a privilege and a huge responsibility. Every day, people are driving kids to school, visiting loved ones across town or across the country, scrambling to make it to a doctor’s appointment in time, and just going about their daily business via our roadways.
We can keep ourselves and each other as safe as possible by adhering to driving laws and avoiding the following behaviors while driving.
This is a huge issue in our society and the top cause of accidents nationwide.
There are different types of driver distraction. It can be visual, which can happen when the driver is looking at something else. Other distractions are losing focus other than the road or manual distractions, which involve anything that requires your hand to be taken off the driving wheel.
These types of distractions include: talking on the phone (even hands-free), texting, flipping through music options, excessively talking and engaging with our partners, looking too long at something on the side of the road (i.e.: rubbernecking while passing by a collision), and anything that takes our attention off the road.
It can also be auditory, which happens when you’re hearing something that is not related to driving (listening to music or conversations happening in the backseat). There are cognitive distractions, too, wherein your mind is wandering someplace else and you’re thinking about something other than driving.
Texts and calls can wait until we are parked safely, we can stand listening to a four-minute song we despise, and we can ensure that our passengers get to our destination safely by not letting conversations or outside distractions divert our attention.
This one happens, mostly unintentionally. That’s why it’s far more dangerous than other driving behaviors. You won’t know beforehand when sleepiness will kick in. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent drowsy driving.
Signs that you are too tired should never be ignored if you intend to drive. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to drive for just a few hours, even minutes. If you’re already having difficulty in focusing, or noticed you’re blinking frequently due to heavy eyelids, beware, you’re almost there.
If you’re in this condition and you still force yourself to drive, you’ll likely miss obvious exits or traffic signs. If you’re driving with someone who knows how to drive, surrender the wheels and stay in the backseat. If you’re alone, get a cup of coffee or wash your face with cold water.
You might think you can handle it, but you won’t know what will happen until it happens to you. A little precaution can make a big difference.
Driving Under The Influence
This is a dangerous decision to make. And yes, it is your decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Never choose to drive if you have been drinking or using any drugs- including prescriptions that impair your ability to operate machinery. Call a friend or family member; take public transportation or a taxi/Uber/Lyft; walk if it’s safe to do so; or stay where you are until you are sober.
It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others. And, you could face serious fines; jail time; loss of your job; and steep increases to your auto insurance rate.
Traveling faster than posted speed limits can greatly increase your chance of an accident. In fact, the faster the speed of a vehicle, the greater the risk of an accident- and a more life-threatening one at that.
Most people realize that traveling at speeds of 90 mph is foolish, but even going an extra 5 mph over the speed limit in some areas can be extremely hazardous.
Be especially cautious in rainy or snowy weather conditions, near schools and playgrounds, and when driving through construction zones.
There may or may not be lowered speed limit signs posted, but it is still your responsibility to know the appropriate speed according to your state’s laws, and to use your best judgment around potential hazards.
We all get annoyed at other drivers on the road. Nobody is perfect and sometimes people make poor choices or mistakes while driving.
But you can choose how you react in these situations. Stay calm and drive defensively to avoid collisions and altercations. Do not let your emotions control your car.
Never tailgate, obstruct another vehicle, cut someone off, disregard traffic controls or laws, or otherwise drive aggressively.
Do not get out of your car and confront someone or assault them if you have been a victim of their driving behaviors or mistakes. You don’t know how they will respond, and you risk serious injury and legal trouble.
Saving Money On Insurance
Another reason to drive safely is to save money. While this should not be the primary reason you follow safe driving practices, it certainly is an added bonus! Rates and any discounts you are eligible to receive depend on many factors.
Auto insurance companies will typically look at your driving record, how often you drive the vehicle, where you live, the estimated worth of your vehicle, and your age and experience. These will all influence your quoted rate.
It is best to scan through insurance websites for yourself, contact an agent, compare quotes, and read reviews before selecting an insurance company and coverage options.
Everyone has different circumstances, so it is best to shop around and see what works for your individual needs and situation.
If you are under 18, your parents can help with this process, but it’s a good idea to be involved and understand rates, coverage, and what makes an insurance company good.
How Safe Driving Saves Money On Car Insurance
I’ve seen a lot of discounts that center around safe driving. Some companies will reduce your rate by certain percentage (often around 3-8%) if you haven’t been in an accident or had any tickets in a given number of years (typically around 3).
Sometimes, older adults will be eligible for a discount if they complete a certified defensive driving course and/or have not received any tickets or been in an accident for a number of years. Students with a good GPA and safe driving record may also receive a discount.
I have also seen less common discounts from auto insurance companies that are quite interesting. If you live in an area with harsher winters but good public transportation, you may want to consider not driving at all. Or maybe you decide to carpool with someone who has a vehicle better equipped for winter driving.
Choosing not to drive can be one of the safest choices you make as a driver. Contact your insurance company to find if choosing alternative forms of transportation to get you to and from work on one or more days a week could save you money. This may include carpooling, biking, walking, or taking a bus or other mode of public transportation.
Some insurance companies may also give discounts for having certain safety features in your vehicle. You may be able to save money just for driving a vehicle that has a car alarm and air bags.
Reap the rewards of driving safely and defensively! Not everything is within our control, and we may still experience an accident or two in our lifetime, but making responsible choices can seriously save lives. Safe driving saves and you should strive to be the safest driver possible.
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