Auto Insurance Series Part Two: Distracted Drivers

Drivers are taking their eyes of the road more than ever before, contributing to an increase in auto insurance premiums. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eight people are killed and 1,161 injured every day as a result of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is more than simply taking your eyes of the road. It includes removing your hands from the wheel or letting your mind wander while driving. Activities like texting, using your cell phone, eating or programming your car’s navigation system are sources of distraction that endanger you, your passengers and other drivers on the road. In fact, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions because it takes your mind off driving, your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. On average, people take their eyes off the road a full five seconds while texting. If you are traveling 55 mph, that is long enough to travel the length of a football field without ever looking up. Not only is texting while driving dangerous, it is also illegal in 48 of the 50 states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In response to the increase in traffic accidents due to distracted driving, auto insurance companies are increasing rates. More accidents mean higher costs for insurance companies. As cars become more technologically advanced, they also become more expensive to fix and the same principle applies to medical costs. Accidents cost auto insurance companies a great deal when it comes to medical cost, auto repairs, lost wages and property damage.

According to the Charlotte Observer, insurers in North Carolina are requesting auto premium increases averaging 13.8 percent and, in neighboring South Carolina, rates increased an average of 8.7 percent last year. The increase in smartphone usage directly correlates with these rising rates.

So, how can you avoid a hike in your auto insurance premiums and, more importantly, keep yourself safe on the road?

Put down your cell phone and keep your eyes (and mind) on the task at hand
Likely the most obvious tip, it is key to remain focused when you are behind the wheel. Find a secure place for your cell phone – your purse, glove box, center console – that keeps it out of sight and out of mind. When you are involved in an accident, the insurance company will raise your auto premiums to mitigate the extra risk. On the flip side, many insurance companies offer discounts on rates for those with a safe driving record.

Slow down and obey traffic laws
Auto insurance companies pay close attention to your driving record so traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, unsafe driving and infractions, may send a negative signal to your insurance provider.

Designate a sober driver

Never get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The consequences can be deadly and, if arrested, remain on your record. A DUI on your record is also a major red-flag for auto insurance companies who will classify you as a high-risk driver. You will almost certainly be disqualified from any safe driving or other discounts available through your insurance provider.

Be on the lookout for discounts

Many insurance providers offer discounts ranging from safe driver to multi-line discounts. It is always a good practice to assess your coverage on a regular basis and ask your provider about any discounts for which you may be eligible.

At Penny Insurance Agency, we have been helping people in North and South Carolina with auto insurance for over 80 years. Over that time, we have seen a lot of changes but one thing remains the same: the right protection is key.

While we are very price conscious, our main focus is making sure you have the protection you and your family need. Our licensed professional agents know how to take advantage of every discount for which you qualify and, since every insurance company is a little different, we shop among the top-rated companies to find the coverage you need at the best possible price. If you need help with your auto insurance or any insurance needs, we invite you to contact us today!