While cell phones have helped us connect in unimaginable ways compared to even 30 years ago, they have negative consequences. For example, distracted driving crashes have skyrocketed in recent years with many people having higher insurance bills, expensive repair costs, and even hospital visits.
Thankfully, becoming a more focused driver can help you avoid these problems and has many other benefits. Here are four advantages of becoming a more attentive driver.
1. Keep Safe From Injury
Distracted driving can cause some pretty severe accidents that may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, the CDC reports that car crashes can cause many injury types. They report things like broken bones, strained muscles, and even paralysis in many people. Thankfully, you can avoid this problem by becoming a more focused driver.
By focusing on your driving, you minimize these risks by preventing crashes. For example, putting down your phone while driving may help you keep your eyes on the road. This should help you spot dangerous driving situations more easily. For instance, you may notice a driver inching into your lane when paying better attention. In this way, you can minimize your accident risk and stay safer.
Just as importantly, you can keep your family safe with attentive driving. You can keep your eyes on the road and off your phone or squabbling children. If your children start fighting or becoming distracting, pull off to the side of the road. You can then talk to them and correct their behavior while parked.
2. Minimize Financial Impact
Here’s a depressing statistic: car accidents typically cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 to fix. While some minor dings may cost no more than $100, most will cost much more. Even with insurance, you might spend a sizable amount of money fixing your vehicle. For example, if an accident causes $3,000 of damage and your deductible is $2,000, you’ll pay that much before your insurance helps.
Vehicle maintenance costs are high without having to pay expensive repair costs. For instance, you might pay $50 to $100 for gas every few weeks. Combine that with oil changes, tire rotations, and other services, and you’re spending thousands on your car a year. Who can easily afford to drop $2K after a car accident on top of regular maintenance? Not many people. Thankfully, attentive driving minimizes your repair expenses.
For example, paying better attention to the road helps you avoid minor and major accidents. Even backing into a parking sign accidentally may cost you at least $500 to fix. Be aware of your surroundings at all times by putting down your phone and paying attention. Also, don’t rely entirely on your backup cameras. While a great tool, you should still do a full 360-inspection whenever backing up.
3. Avoid Insurance Increases
Most of the time, your car insurance will go up when you get into accidents. It’s unavoidable in many scenarios and is more likely when you’re at fault. For example, it’s reported that an at-fault car accident could raise your car insurance by 48%. So, if your insurance costs $100 per month, it would cost $148 after an accident. Rates in not-at-fault accidents increase by about 12% as well.
While rate increases vary based on severity, just about every crash will cause some rate increase. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the road. By being a safer driver, you minimize your insurance rate increases. Yes, a good driving record after a crash may decrease your rates eventually. But the decrease will be much slower than the increase. Simply avoiding the increase is the better choice here.
Furthermore, not crashing can also benefit you by earning discounts. For example, some insurance companies provide safe driver discounts to their drivers. These discounts can be hundreds of dollars or more on your policy. Simply by paying better attention and avoiding accidents, you can earn these rates. Even better, you can potentially negotiate better rates for your family members.
4. Model Better Driving Behavior
Though your children may try to deny it, they learn so much about life by watching you. For example, if they see you checking your phone while driving or acting distracted, they may pick up on those habits. So instead, put your phone down and model better-driving behavior for your children. For example, keep your eyes on the road as you drive, always signal turns, and check your mirrors constantly.
There are many other things you can do to model excellent driving behavior. For example, adjust your side and rearview mirrors properly to create a nearly 360-car view. Do this by changing the side mirrors just past the point where you can see the car in the mirror. Next, tweak the rearview mirror to cover the angles. This setup helps eliminate blind spots and makes staying attentive on the road easier.
Furthermore, don’t answer phone calls while driving when on the road. So doing lets your children know you think it’s okay for them to do so while driving. Instead, let the phone ring and either return the call later or pull over to make the call. Only pull over when traffic is slow and not dangerous. For example, pulling over on a freeway to make a phone call isn’t advisable.
Start Driving Better Today
How can you improve your driving focus and minimize distracted driving risks? First, put your phone down and don’t pick it up until you park. Even if you get a text, just let it sit until you have time to park and answer it. If possible, sync your phone to voice commands so that you can do things like make calls without having to look away from the road.
Between the benefits of safety, finances, and modeling good behavior, now is the best time to become a focused driver.