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Dangers of Distracted Driving

Auto Coverage

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert your attention away from the main task of driving.1 It is something that is both dangerous and disturbingly common. In fact, an estimated 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while driving during daylight hours.2 You may be surprised to learn that cell phones and texting are just part of the problem when it comes to distracted driving. While stowing your phone while you drive is an important safety step, other behaviors behind the wheel, from drinking coffee to using a navigation system, may also be putting you at risk. 

A list of driving distractions may include:

•  Dialing or using a smartphone
•  Texting
•  Eating or drinking
•  Talking to passengers
•  Grooming
•  Reading
•  Programming a GPS or navigation system
•  Adjusting a radio or MP3 player

Cognitive Distraction

It may not be surprising to learn that your brain is only capable of processing a certain amount of information at any given time.

When we attempt to perform multiple tasks at the same time, like driving while talking on the phone or eating, we can encounter performance problems. Multiple tasks tend to compete for our brain’s attention.

Visual Distraction

It may sound like an assumed fact, but you have to look where you are going when driving. Regardless, we see people driving without looking where they are going every day. Driving while visually distracted can be as dangerous as driving with your eyes closed. You would not make a turn or change lanes with your eyes closed, yet, distracted drivers are, in effect, doing just that.

Imagine driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. That is the equivalent of texting while driving at 55 mph. Because texting takes our attention away for an average of 4.6 seconds3, we are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Some other common distractions most of us are very familiar with include eating, adjusting music or GPS devices, applying makeup, reading, and reaching for moving objects. Each of these tasks can dramatically increase your odds of getting into an accident.

Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it requires manual, visual and cognitive distraction at the same time, according to distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s official website on distracted driving.

Cognitive, Visual or Both?

Distraction can keep you from driving safely in multiple ways. Any distraction, regardless of how quick or harmless it may seem, should be avoided when you are behind the wheel. Remember to keep your eyes and brain focused on the road at all times.

Setting a Good Example

Avoiding sending text messages or calling someone you know is on the road can help prevent them from distraction. Parents can set a good example for children by modeling attentive driving, including putting away the phone and not eating or grooming behind the wheel.


The above content is courtesy of Travelers (© 2018 The Travelers Indemnity Company) and originally appeared on the Travelers website at: https://www.travelers.com/resources/auto/distracted-driving/what-is-distracted-driving 

Sources:
1 U.S. Department of Transportation,
http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html.
2 https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

3 Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations, FMCSA, 2009.

What Drives Personal Auto Insurance Rates?

Auto Coverage

If you drive a vehicle, you are required by law to have personal auto insurance. But why do we need it?

Consider hitting a car and injuring three passengers. If both your vehicle and the other vehicle are valued at $20,000 and considered total losses, and each passenger has medical claims of $20,000, this quickly adds up to $100,000! That’s an amount most individuals wouldn’t want to have to include in their annual budgets.

The function of insurance is to accept the risk from many people to pay for the losses of the few. Personal auto insurance protects drivers from having to personally pay for all the damages they are responsible for resulting from an auto accident. Even though you paid your insurance company much less in premiums, the insurance company pays these higher amounts on your behalf based on your policy coverage.  

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Top Risk Concerns for Businesses and Individuals

Business leaders and consumers share many common concerns, according to data compiled from the 2016 Travelers Risk Index. The annual survey found that cyber risk is still considered one of the greatest risks facing both Americans and American businesses. And while businesses worry more about the implications of getting hacked, consumers are primarily concerned about personal privacy loss, identity fraud and cyber threats.

Top Business Risk Concerns

Medical cost inflation, increasing employee benefit costs and cyber-related technology risks/data breaches again topped the Travelers Risk Index for business concerns in 2016, although the overall proportion who felt the business environment is becoming more risky declined slightly from 2015 to 2016, from 44 percent to 41 percent. 

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Personal Insurance Consumer Risk Index Concern Over Cyber Risk Increases More than 20 Percentage Points from Previous Year

According to the 2015 Consumer Risk Index from Travelers, financial risk continues to top the list of major concerns for Americans. However, fear over cyber risk has grown considerably, making it one of the top three consumer risks in 2015.

Cyber Risk – There has been a dramatic increase in how many Americans worry about cyber risk, from 36% in 2014 to 57% in 2015. Leading the list of specific cyber risk concerns is the fear of bank accounts being hacked (62%).

Financial Concerns & Risks – Americans list financial security as their top concern for the third straight year. Of the 66% that worry about this issue, almost half worry a great deal.

Personal Privacy or Identity Theft – Six out of ten Americans worry about losing personal information or privacy, with 25% worrying a great deal.

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