7 Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Drivers (that can drive your car insurance rates up)

We’ve all probably been guilty of one or more of these in our time as a driver and if we were lucky we may have not caused an accident in doing so. Still, in the future, here are some bad habits to avoid to keep you and your family safe and your car insurance rates nice and low where you like them.
1. Eating – That $5 foot long or $1 double cheeseburger may taste great and you want to just have it now, but is it really worth risking life and limb to do so?  If anything get a less labor and attention intensive option like a smoothie if you must imbibe while you drive.
2. Driving when Drowsy – You’re only a couple hours away from home and you want to just power through, but your head keeps nodding downwards, your mind drifting off and your eyes closing as you doze and drive.  This can be fatal.  Pull over to a safe place right away, nap it off and live to see another day.
3. Tailgating – I’ve never understood the point of tailgating. All the accident data recorded in the history of the automobile has made clear the fact that tailgating leads to increased accidents which in turn leads to increased insurance premiums and deductibles. My driver’s education teacher Mr. Klassen taught us the six second rule, but I’ve heard mention of similar rules down as low as three seconds.  Either way, be smart, be safe and leave some space between you and the drivers in front of you to allow time for braking or changing lanes in case of an emergency.

4. Talking on the Phone – Talking on the phone has been a problem for over a decade, since everyone started carrying these little irradiated communication devices around as an added appendage. If you must take or make a call, use speaker phone or a Bluetooth headset, but even then, in ideal circumstances, it is better to pull to a rest area to engage in telephonic conversation.

5. Changing ClothesI know I’ve done it ill-advisedly, and I’ve seen some of you out there trying the same. This is one of the worst things to do during rush hour when you are in a hurry.  Especially the part where you pull your shirt over your head and you are blinded for a second.  Be smart, keep your insurance premiums down and change by the side of the road or at work before you leave.

6. Texting & Driving – Now illegal in many states, texting and driving has been blamed for a high number of accidents in recent years.  It is currently illegal in seven states and Washington D.C. 18 states currently prohibit school bus drivers from sending text messages when school children are present; the others don’t have any laws or punishments concerning the issue.
7. Drinking & Driving
– Even with stepped up enforcement and stiffer punishments, many of us still feel it’s ok to get behind the wheel after a couple after-work cocktails. Be smart, be safe, stay out of trouble and keep your car insurance rates down.  It’s always better to call a cab than risk injury or arrest by driving home.

Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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