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Car Insurance

A Blog About Driving and Car Insurance in the USA

Friday, August 04, 2006

Most Car Accidents Are Caused by Driver Distraction!

Just the other day, I was driving with some family in the car. My mother received a phone call from her sister--my aunt--and they had a brief conversation. Just before the conversation ended, my mom instructed me to take the cell phone and say hello to my aunt. I quickly turned my head away--keeping my eyes on the road, of course--and told her that there was no way I was going to talk on a cell phone while driving.

You see, I learned my lesson a few years ago, when I got into a minor accident caused by some carelessness on my part. I was driving to the airport to pickup my brother, and, as I slowly approached a bunch of cars that were stopped at a red light, I somehow arrived at the conclusion that it would be a good time to change the radio station. I took my eyes off the road for a split second to check the FM frequency I was currently listening to, and, suddenly: bam! I hit the minivan in front of me. I was only traveling at about 5 MPH, and because I hit the minivan's bumper, the only damage to that car was a small area of scratched paint. My car, on the other hand, experienced some serious damage. The hood was crumpled, my grill was mangled beyond repair and one of my headlights was smashed. If I possessed the power to take you back in time and place you at the scene of the accident, I doubt I could convince you that my car and the minivan were involved in the same accident. The damage would have cost me at least $1,000 to fix if I had taken the car to a body shop, so I decided to fix the light myself, and drive the car with the dented hood (not pretty.)

That was a very sobering experience.

Since that accident, I don't let anything distract me while I'm driving. Nothing. If I need to use the phone, I pull over, put the car in "park," and then start dialing. Or, if it's not an emergency, I simply wait until I've arrived at my chosen destination, then make the call. Furthermore, whenever I'm on the highway, and I find myself near a car that's being driven by a motorist who's chatting on the phone, I move away from that car, either by speeding up, changing lanes or by slowing down, because I've learned--the hard way--that:

Driving + Any Distraction = Accident Waiting to Happen.


Driver Distraction Is To Blame for Almost 80% of All Traffic Accidents

That's right, folks: almost 80%, according to the good folks at InsureMe (Click here to get a free auto insurance quote) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A recently issued press release contains some interesting facts and advice related to the driver distraction. Details below:

" Prompted by recent reports on the hazards of cell phone use and overall driver distraction, InsureMe, a leading online insurance shopping service, is offering tips to reduce one’s risk behind the wheel.

According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction is the culprit behind nearly 80 percent of all traffic accidents -- a much higher percentage than previously thought. The government agency credits cell phones with causing the highest number of driver distractions.

Additionally, researchers from the University of Utah say chatting on a cell phone makes a person five times more likely to have an accident and impairs driving ability as much as drinking alcoholic beverages.

With those stats in mind, InsureMe recommends limiting phone conversations while driving. Although many are loathe to give up their phones for even a minute, the benefit of hanging up is clear: safer roads for everyone (and lower phone bills.)

Even though they top the administration’s list of distractions, cell phones aren’t the only gadgets that distract drivers from the business of driving. The ever-growing list of electronic gizmos includes: DVD players, satellite radios, hand-held organizers, iPods, and global positioning systems. According to the NHTSA, 'drivers engaging in visually and/or manually complex tasks have a three times higher near-crash/crash risk than drivers who are attentive.'

There are also the constant, low-tech distractions: kids, pets, fast food, hot beverages, newspapers, road side accidents, signs and billboards. The NHTSA’s 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study revealed that reaching for a moving object, such as a falling frappuccino, increased the likelihood of a crash by nine times.

Limiting distractions is relatively easy and will immediately result in safer roads for all motorists. InsureMe recommends that drivers curb their cars before: making and taking calls; changing the music; wolfing down a burrito; applying makeup; writing a text message; or replaying a young one’s favorite Lion King scene.

For most drivers, avoiding accidents is its own reward. But for those who need economic incentives to be safe, InsureMe notes that a person’s driving record is one of the most important factors in determining how much he or she pays for auto insurance."

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Anonymous Hi, Insurance said...

This is another great article with very useful tips.I doubt I could convince you that my car and the minivan were involved in the same accident. I am hoping to pick up more blogging work, too!

Sunday, April 25, 2010 2:56:00 AM  

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