Distracted Driving

 In Best Practices, Insurance Advice, Insurance Information

In 2018, distracted driving was the cause of 2,300 deaths and over 400,000 injuries in the United States. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, distracted driving related crashes cost employers $18.8 billion in 2019. With numbers like these, it’s important to understand how to prevent distracted driving and what role your insurance plays in it. Before learning how to prevent it, you should know what exactly distracted driving is.

What is Distracted Driving?

The three umbrella types of distracted driving are manual, visual, and cognitive.

Manual. Distractions causing manual impairment mean anything that requires the driver to remove one or both hands from the steering wheel. Manual distractions include: eating and drinking, smoking, looking through belongings, grooming, helping a child with a car seat or seat belt, and turning knobs in the car (radio volume, air conditioning).

Visual. Distractions that cause the driver to veer their eyes off the road are labeled as visual impairments. Visual distractions can include: texting while driving, grooming, and looking at GPS navigation systems or billboard advertisements.

Cognitive. Out of the three, cognitive distractions fall into a slightly grey area since they don’t involve taking your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel. These types of distractions occur when the driver’s mental focus is taken off of driving, like: hands-free cell phone calls, talking to other passengers, and listening to the radio.

How Does Distracted Driving Affect Insurance?

Getting into any sort of at-fault accident always makes your insurance premium go up because your insurance company deems you a high-risk driver. Even if you avoid an accident but still get a ticket, your premium can go up by an average of 16%.

If In An Accident, Will Insurance Cover The Injuries?

Most of the time, yes. The insurance company for the other driver will cover the claim for injuries even though the offender was violating the law when they struck you or your vehicle. Even though texting and driving is illegal, so is speeding and insurance companies typically cover claims in those circumstances.

How Will My Age Affect My Insurance?

Of course, the more years someone has spent behind the wheel, the less prone they are to getting involved in an accident which means they cost less to insure. Quotes for teenagers are three times as expensive as quotes for drivers in their mid-30s and nearly four times the rate for drivers in their mid-50s. Once young drivers gain more experience and hit age 25, their car insurance costs drop about an average of 30%.

What Happens If I Get Into An Accident Without Insurance?

In the state of Wisconsin, it is illegal to drive without coverage, and if you’re caught, you can be fined up to $500 and have your driving privileges suspended. If you are uninsured, it doesn’t automatically mean you are at fault for the accident. Even if you are not at fault, however, you may have to pay out of pocket for car damages or medical costs.

If you are the cause of the accident, your liability insurance will typically help cover the other driver’s car damage costs and medical costs up to your coverage limit. However, if you are at fault, you risk being sued by the other party for the damage costs. In a no-fault state, the other driver’s insurance would typically cover their expenses, but Wisconsin is not a no-fault state.

If you own a car but don’t have auto insurance, it’s important to get coverage as soon as possible. To keep yourself from getting distracted while driving, turn on the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone, avoid eating while driving, and search for a good driving music playlist before getting in the car. Make sure to meet with your insurance agent to discuss your coverage options before getting on the road!



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