Distracted Driving Can Increase Your Auto Insurance Rates

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Published: 23rd May 2013
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Distracted driving is a topic of discussion in the media, at the water coolers in workplaces and even in homes. Despite all of this talk it is apparent that many drivers do not fully grasp not only what distracted driving is but also what it can lead to. Put simply, distracted driving can lead to serious accidents with extensive damage to one or more vehicles, serious injuries that require hospitalization and surgery as well as months of physical therapy and in some cases even the death of occupants in the affected vehicles.

Distracted driving is serious and can lead to some dire circumstances. In addition, distracted driving can also increase your auto insurance rates, particularly if you are cited by the police for driving while distracted or if you must file an insurance claim for an accident caused by your distraction.

Cell phones make up a large contributor to distracted driving. Many drivers think they can manage driving and talking on the phone at the same time, especially if they use a headset or a Bluetooth connection, but studies show drivers who talk on the phone while driving are just as dangerous as drivers who are legally drunk. The problem is not that a driver is holding a phone while driving, but rather that they can become so engaged in a conversation that the driver fails to notice the vehicle in front of them is stopping, a traffic light has changed or other events on the road that demand the driver’s attention. Unlike talking to a passenger sitting next to them, people who are talking to a driver on the phone cannot help watch out for dangers on the road and call urgent situations to the driver’s attention.

Talking is not the only kind of distraction cell phones can provide to a driver. An increasing number of drivers are texting while their car is moving down the road, oftentimes taking both hands off the steering wheel and their eyes off the road. Needless to say, being distracted by texting while driving is just as dangerous as talking on the phone, if not even more dangerous.

If you are driving and suddenly must make or receive a phone call or text message, the best thing to do is to pull off the road and then pick up your phone. It’s best to pull into a parking lot where you are completely off the road, since sitting on the shoulder does present the risk of another car crashing into yours.

As if texting and talking on the phone is not enough distraction, a new disturbing trend in distracted driving is gaining new attention. “Webbing” or using the Internet while behind a vehicle’s wheel is becoming more common. You can engage in webbing either with a smart phone or a tablet device. People check sports scores, read the latest news, check their email and even watch movies on their mobile devices while driving. There are companies that produce devices that will hold a tablet on a vehicle’s steering wheel or a cell phone on the dash so the driver can engage in webbing and not hold the device. Just like using a headset or Bluetooth connection to talk on the phone, the dangerous part of webbing is not whether or not a driver is holding the mobile device but that that driver isn’t paying their entire attention to the driver. Anything that prevents you from paying your full attention on what is going on around you while you are driving is considered a distraction. To avoid uncomfortable insurance questions, distractions should be eliminated to help you keep your car insurance rates down.

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