We all have our pet peeves when it comes to driving that can range from getting cut off to someone driving entirely too slow on the interstate. While these serve to annoy us, there is also a financial component to these kinds of behaviors (and no, driving 15 mph below the speed limit is not safe or careful driving). When we look at auto insurance, there are commercials galore that extol the virtues of one insurance company over the other when it comes to price, but the reality is that if you want to save a lot of money, you need to be a better driver.
Risk Dictates Price
Just like any form of insurance, the level of perceived risk is the number one factor in determining the premiums that will be charged. If you're a smoker, you can expect to pay more for health, disability, and life insurance. If you're a bad driver, you will pay a small fortune to the insurance company for the pleasure of driving (and wreaking havoc on other drivers along the way). To pay the lowest premiums - to save serious green - you need to be a low risk for the insurance company.
Ways to be a Better Driver
For whatever reason, some people simply are worse drivers than others. Reasons for this range from being overly aggressive to the more common - being careless. With the latest issue being texting and driving, the studies don't lie. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous, and as we're pointing out in this post, the added insurance costs are painful as well.
To help you become a better driver, there are dozens of ways to lower your risk profile and your insurance premiums. The most common are commonsense:
- Pay Attention - Texting? Super bad idea. Talking on the phone? Not good. Pointing at landmarks? Distracting. Staring at drivers next to you? Creepy. Driving a panel van and delivering a death stare to drivers next to you? Scary. Look, you already know this, so turn off the phone, stop pointing out landmarks while swerving (we naturally drive toward our line of sight), and please, don't stare at other drivers.
- Observe Traffic Laws - Ah, the law. We generally try not to break the big ones, but traffic laws are all too often ignored. If you've never read a state provided book on traffic laws, pick one up. You'd be surprised, but there are things that can also help you get around faster (like turning left on red at one way to one way intersections).
- Scan the Road - We always liked the expression, "You gotta watch out for the other guy." The problem is that most of us fail to scan the road for possible danger around us because we're focused on getting from point A to point B. Take the time to look around and avoid trouble when you see it happening.
- Be Patient - When it comes to rush hour, you're better served being patient. Changing lanes in horribly slow traffic is unlikely to result in any significant time savings while seriously increasing your odds of being in an accident. Settle down, and you'll be better for it.
- Think Ahead - If you need to get off the interstate in a half mile, being in the far left lane on a five lane highway is not thinking ahead. Of course, you see it all the time where someone isn't thinking ahead and winds up screwing up traffic or worse, causing an accident. This goes back to the first point - pay attention.
While there are other ways to save money on auto insurance, the #1 way to save is to be a safer driver so you will be a lower risk to the insurance company. There simply is no other way to save that offers as much value as taking the time and investing in being a better driver. Plus, we'll all be happier that you're not the 'other guy' ruining our commute.