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Keep you cheap auto insurance by avoiding accidents

No distractions, please. I'm driving!

There are many ways in which you can describe some of Big Government's departments and their campaigns. Feeling polite and well-balanced, you can say some are worth every cent. Then you get others where you cannot help feeling a little insulted. Like this site: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Hey, come on, guys. We are all drivers here and we know how to drive safely. Except, perhaps, we "kinda" forget some basic rules when we get behind the wheel and back out of the driveway. So just how bad is it?

 
   

Well, the police are supposed to report the circumstances of all the traffic accidents they attend. This does not always produce a reliable record but, in 2008, the police recorded driver distraction as the main cause in almost 6,000 deaths (that's about 15% of all the fatal accidents in the US) and more than 500,000 injuries. So just what is distraction for these purposes. The list is what you would expect:

  • using a cell phone, PDA, etc. to chat or text;
  • reading (usually a map but some people are more adventurous);
  • talking to passengers;
  • using the navigation system;
  • watching a video;
  • changing the station on the radio, or the CD in the player or fiddling with your MP3 player;
  • eating and drinking; or
  • personal grooming from combing your hair to applying make-up.

What it comes down to is taking your eyes off the road, or taking your hands off the wheel, or thinking about something else. That makes texting the worst offender because it involves all three levels of distraction. Perhaps not surprisingly, the worst group of offenders are drivers aged 20 or less, i.e. they are young and inexperienced and more likely to get into an accident than any other group of drivers on the road.

The distraction website is run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It hopes both to educate drivers and to work with motor manufacturers to produce safer vehicles to drive. Except that neither camp seem inclined to cooperate. The culture of the younger members of society, i.e. up to 29 years old, is now addicted to 24/7 communication technology. They have to keep in touch with their friends through texting, tweets and other messaging systems. Pandering to this, manufacturers are building ever more electronic systems into vehicles as information services and entertainment. Fifty years ago, you only had to worry about changing channel on the radio. Now there can be a display of buttons and levers that would challenge someone with the skills of the Borg (pick your favorite television or film series characters for this).

Any traffic accident is like a lead weight attached to the premium for your auto insurance policy. That means keeping your driving record clean. With more states now banning the use of technology in the car, being seen with any handheld device in one hand while holding the wheel with the other is a potential ticket or citation. To keep your cheap car insurance, turn off your devices to avoid being distracted or fined if a police officer sees you. If you are getting into an argument with someone in the vehicle, pull over, stop and finish it before driving on. If you are running late, do not eat or do other catch-up jobs while trying to drive. If you keep yourself safe, you avoid accidents and keep your auto insurance affordable.

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