Auto accidents can be incredibly expensive to deal with.
Especially medical costs. Thousands of people in Michigan endure a lifetime of expenses caused by auto accidents. We transfer our personal risk of paying for auto accident medical costs by paying the insurance company to deal with these medical costs for us. The insurance companies transfer some of their risk to other insurance companies in a network of risk-sharing. Ultimately, all auto accidents contribute to what the insurance companies charge us for insurance.
From this perspective, we could lower our auto accident costs if we collectively had fewer accidents. A quarter of all car crashes are caused by distracted driving. It’s tough to avoid wildlife, conditions caused by weather, or even bad judgment… but we can end distracted driving. The following behaviors qualify as distracted driving:
- Manual distractions where you move your hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions where you focus your eyes away from the road.
- A cognitive distraction when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.
Texting hits all three of these criteria!
Other behaviors that qualify as distracted driving include: eating while driving, trying to figure out your infotainment system while driving, reaching around for your dropped cell phone while driving, and so on. Drinking and driving is about as distracted as you can get!
The fatal crash rate for teens is three times greater than for drivers over 20. Around 60% of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving. Most of us over the age of 20 would pass a written test involving the risk of distracted driving, but in real life act quite differently. We likely rationalize our behavior by thinking “well, I’m a better driver so I can drive distracted and be OK.” Famous last words. Also, your children are watching you and learning from your example. Children of parents who drive distracted are two to four times more likely to also drive distracted.
With school starting up again, with new patterns of traffic flow, kids crossing streets, etc., it’s time to become more focused on what’s going on outside your vehicle than inside it!
I get it – not driving distracted ranks right up there with flossing, losing weight, saying your prayers, and taking your vitamins. And, yes, it would take some time for our insurance costs to go down if we collectively had fewer auto accidents. However, the decision to stop driving distracted means – effective immediately — you’ll likely live longer and have a better quality of life! You can do this!