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UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021
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You Are More Distracted than You Might Think, The Dangers of Distracted Driving
By MATT GALLAGHER
Distracted driving turns you into a high risk driver, and it happens all the time. Checking that text. Counting the Facebook Likes of the lox salmon bagel you had for breakfast. Did your boss finally email about this morning’s meeting?
Those are obvious cell phone distractions, but not the only diversions that take our eyes away from the road. Popping in that new Skrillex disc. Touching up your morning mascara. Wiggling out of a cardigan in 65 mph, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Such distractions are more dangerous and also may affect your eligibility for cheap auto insurance online.
And we all do it. Sure, millennials are the worst. About 59 percent of millennials acknowledge texting while driving, compared to 31 percent of the rest of us. And that’s just who admits it. Meanwhile, roughly 25 percent of all vehicle crashes involve a cell phone, and about 340,000 accidents every year are caused by texting.
Hands Free Not Distraction-Free
Sure, you can ask Siri anything, but that doesn’t make her safe. Even hands-free technology — using voice to send a text, talking on a Bluetooth, checking voicemail — can distract our attention from the road for up to 25 seconds. And it’s not just the time spent looking away. Any distraction tends to linger in our minds long enough to blow through a school zone.
“When you move from one task to another, it takes energy,” says Shaun Vecera, an Obermann Fellow-in-Residence at the University of Iowa who is currently studying the risks of distracted driving. “Your response time is slower when you’ve just done something else, which is why if you’ve checked your phone at a red light, it still affects your driving ability.”
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Highest Fatality Rise in 50 Years
These distractions make highways more dangerous. Nearly 40,000 people died in auto crashes last year, a 6 percent increase from 2015, contributing to a 14 percent increase over the past two years. In fact, the past two years have seen the largest spike in traffic deaths in the last 50, despite new safety innovations in vehicle design.
Cheap Auto Insurance and the Cost of Distracted Driving
Increased risk can put you in the category of high-risk auto insurance. It becomes harder to qualify for cheap auto insurance quotes. Aside from the risk to life and limb, you’re also gambling a ticket. Currently, 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban texting while driving, while 14 states ban handheld phones while driving. And naturally, insurance for people with tickets can be quite expensive.
Prepping Your Commute Before Takeoff
So keep distractions to a minimum. Pull over to make that call or text. Plot a playlist long enough for the entire commute, and don’t bother to skip back to your favorite track. Plug in GPS before you put the car in drive. Use a cell phone holster to hold your phone within your line of vision of the road, and only use it for directions. Use an external navigator besides your phone if possible.
And if you carpool, ask your copilot to navigate, DJ, be that extra pair of eyes.
Phones may be great for directions, but can also be fatal distractions. Statistics show that distracted driving can be as high risk as a DUI or speeding. Don’t become just another highway statistic. First thing’s first — get home alive. Friends don’t mind if friends save that text for after the drive.
Driving distracted is a sure-fire way to get a ticket in most states or even worse, get in an accident. Either of those end up hurting financially. To see if you are overpaying on your auto insurance due to some unfortunate event, get a fast and free quote today.