In a world where car accidents are all too common, developing safe driving habits is more important than ever. Not only can these habits protect you and others on the road, but they can also lead to financial perks in the form of lower car insurance rates. Insurance companies often reward drivers who show good driving behaviors, and some even offer telematics programs that track and rate driving habits.
In this blog post, we'll explore what makes up good driving habits, why they matter to insurance companies, and how your driving history can impact your car insurance rates.
Understanding Telematics and How It Affects Insurance Rates
Telematics programs offered by car insurance companies use tracking devices or apps to track driving behaviors and reward safe habits. By enrolling in a telematics program, drivers can receive discounts on their insurance premiums based on their driving performance. These programs usually track factors like miles driven, time of day driving, hard braking, speeding, accelerating, and cell phone use while driving. Safe drivers who show good habits can earn discounts, while unsafe drivers may see an increase in their rates (or canceled policies).
Tracking Your Driving Behavior
After signing up for a telematics program, a car insurance company will begin tracking driving behavior using a mobile app or a plug-in device installed in your car. The data collected is then used to provide drivers with an updated insurance rate or discount off their current base rate. The discount percentage varies by company, ranging from 5% to 40%. Some companies even offer sign-up discounts.
Participants in telematics programs can gain more transparency into how their driving habits directly affect their insurance bills, leading to higher satisfaction with their insurance rates. It may seem scary or like “big brother is watching”, but the whole point of telematics programs is to help drivers save money in the long run. If you drive safely, you should be rewarded for it.
Top Safe Driving Habits That Can Make a Difference
Here are ten safe driving habits that every driver should adopt to improve road safety and potentially lower car insurance costs:
- Defensive Driving: Go beyond simply following road rules by driving to save lives, time, and money. Consider taking a defensive driving course to learn skills such as anticipating dangerous situations and reducing collision risks. Some car insurance companies also offer a discount if you take this course.
- Never Drive Tired: Driver fatigue contributes to about 100,000 police-reported crashes each year. Avoid driving while drowsy and make sure you get enough rest before hitting the road.
- Avoid Getting Distracted: Texting, phone calls, and other distractions while driving are dangerous. If you need to take a call or text someone, pull over so you’re safe.
- Always Use Your Turn Signals: Neglecting turn signals causes around 2 million crashes per year in the United States. Proper signaling is important for driving when around other drivers.
- Drive Slower: Higher speeds increase the seriousness of a crash. Keep within speed limits to enhance safety for yourself and others on the road.
- Drive Cautiously in Bad Weather: If possible, avoid driving in extreme weather conditions. If caught in a storm, slow down, be cautious, and leave extra space between vehicles.
- Keep a Safe Distance from Tractor-Trailers: Truck drivers have limited visibility behind them. Maintain at least a two-car distance between you and larger vehicles for safety.
- Wear Your Seat Belt: Seat belts save lives and enhance airbag effectiveness. Always buckle up when driving.
- Always Yield: Yielding the right-of-way is vital for predictability and smooth traffic flow. It also helps avoid conflicts with other drivers (road rage never helped anyone).
- Never Drive Under the Influence: Impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol is a leading cause of accidents and fatalities. Use alternative transportation options such as calling a friend, using a ridesharing app like UBER, or walking with someone to avoid driving under the influence.
The Role of Tech in Encouraging Safe Driving
Technology has made significant advancements in promoting safe driving. Modern vehicles come equipped with features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control, which assist drivers in maintaining safety on the road. In addition to telematics programs, there are also mobile apps available that help drivers navigate traffic, find parking spots, and avoid road hazards. Embracing these technologies can enhance your driving experience and contribute to safer roads for everyone.
How You Think Behind The Wheel Also Helps You Drive Safer
Safe driving isn't only about following the rules of the road but also involves a psychological aspect. It requires drivers to remain calm and focused in challenging situations, such as heavy traffic or encounters with aggressive drivers. Managing stress, avoiding road rage, and practicing patience contribute to making better driving decisions and reducing the likelihood of collisions.
Let’s all get from point A to point B safely
Safe driving habits are essential for everyone on the road. They not only help prevent accidents and save lives but also lead to financial benefits in the form of lower insurance rates. Telematics programs offered by insurance companies provide an opportunity for drivers to be rewarded for their safe driving behavior, and they provide valuable insights into how driving habits directly impact insurance costs.
By adopting good driving habits, using tech to help, maintaining your vehicle, and respecting the role of law enforcement, you can make a positive difference for yourself and your community,