If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know that it’s one of the quickest ways to ruin your day. In the aftermath of a collision, you need to deal with potentially upset drivers, answer questions from the police, arrange towing and repairs, and file an insurance claim. The best way to avoid these headaches is to avoid the accident in the first place, so you’ll want to steer clear of these five things that increase your chances of a collision.
- Your cell phone. You might think that quickly checking your text messages while you’re behind the wheel is no big deal, but it actually increases your odds of being in an accident by 23 percent. In fact, the Ontario Provincial Police named distracted driving as the deadliest driving behavior for the fifth year in a row, ahead of alcohol and drugs, speeding and lack of seatbelt use.
- While distracted driving was responsible for the most road deaths in Ontario last year, speed-related fatalities was a close second. The Nova Scotia RCMP recently reminded drivers that the faster you’re driving, the longer it will take you to stop – and the more likely you’ll be to hit something in front of you. For example, if you’re traveling 120 kilometers an hour in a 110 kilometer per hour zone, it would take you the length of a soccer field to stop your vehicle under normal road conditions.
- Lack of experience. There is a reason why teenagers are pricier to insure: their lack of experiences makes them more likely to get into an accident. Statistics show that while drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 make up nine percent of driver’s license holders, they are involved in 21 percent of road accidents that result in injuries or death.
- The dangers of drinking and driving have been well publicized, yet MADD Canada reports that approximately four Canadians are killed each day in crashes involving alcohol or drugs. And sadly, young people are the largest group of drivers who die in accidents related to impaired driving. Alcohol affects your vision, attention, and reflexes, making you a much more dangerous driver.
- Transport Canada reports that 60 percent of Canadian drivers admitted to driving while fatigued, and a scary 15 percent have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Another sobering statistic: an estimated 20 percent of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue. Much like alcohol, fatigue reduces your attentiveness and increases your reaction times, making you more prone to accidents.
Avoiding an accident isn’t just a good way to avoid the headache of handling post-collision logistics, it’s also one of the best ways to lower your insurance rates. Your driving record is a key factor in determining your premium, meaning fewer accidents and tickets will lower your rate. If you’re already paying for your previous driving mistakes, you can still reduce your rates by talking to your provider about potential discounts or comparing insurance quotes online to find a cheaper rate.