Safe Driving Tips for Lower Car Insurance Rates

Safe drivers come from all walks of life, but share some admirable qualities that help them stand out from other motorists. Their behaviors help keep other drivers safe by lowering the risks of accidents. Some take a defensive driving course while others are just extra cautious.

Many insurance companies reward safe drivers with lower rates, bonuses and discounts on their insurance policies. In this article, you'll learn several driving tips that can help you become a safe driver and earn discounts on your car insurance policy.

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What Is a Safe Driver?

A safe driver is a person who doesn’t endanger other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road.

A safe driver is a person who doesn't endanger other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road. This person respects state laws, rules of the road, and actively practices safe driving skills to protect others.

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9 Characteristics of Safe Drivers

What are the qualities that safe drivers share? Good drivers share the following characteristics.

They have the right road skills.

One of the top characteristics of a safe driver is that this person has enough skills to handle the majority of situations they will face on the road.

They are knowledgeable about their state's road rules.

These drivers know the latest road rules that can impact their driving behind the wheel. Additionally, these drivers have enough information about how to handle their vehicles. They continue to improve their driver education by taking defensive driving courses.

They exhibit patience in all driving situations.

Safe drivers have patience when driving on the road.

Safe drivers have patience when driving on the road. They aren't racing from one destination to another or trying to outrace another driver on the road. Instead, they take their time to ensure they can get to their destination safely.

These drivers are self-disciplined.

Safe drivers are responsible and follow the rules of the road. They practice restraint when driving. They don't take unsafe actions on the road to look cool.

They stay alert.

Although you may be a great driver, not everyone has the same skill set so you must drive defensively too.

Although you may be a great driver, not everyone has the same skill set so you must drive defensively too. Pay attention to the actions of the other drivers on the road, to ensure you stay safe and react in time if they are recklessly driving.

They have the mechanical skills to take care of emergencies.

Drivers should have enough mechanical skills so they can handle some basic emergencies if their car breaks down.

They are responsible.

Another quality of good drivers is that they are responsible on the road. They take the necessary steps to ensure that their passengers are safe and that they are following the rules of the road.

They properly maintain their vehicles.

Safe drivers invest the time to maintain their automobiles. They take their cars in for routine maintenance checks like oil and fluid changes, tire rotations and annual checkups. They also invest in purchases like brake pads, tires and other materials necessary to ensure their automobiles work safely.

They are road-ready.

Safe drivers are fit to drive a vehicle. It means that these individuals should take the necessary driver's education courses and pass the required state tests to drive on the road.

10 Safe Driving Tips

Do you want to learn how to be a better, safer driver on the road? There are several driving tips that you should consider, whether you're driving on the highway or exploring your local town.

Get Your Vehicle Refitted for Your Needs.

Most car owners become comfortable with driving their automobiles over time. They take for granted that they've set up their seats, mirrors and other accessories to match their driving requirements.

Most individuals don't realize that everyone's driving needs and abilities change. The way they've currently set up their vehicle may not provide them with optimal visibility of the road. Additionally, it may not provide them with the best way to control their cars.

Courses on Refitting

There are driver's educational workshops that can teach you how to set up your car properly. CarFit, AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association offer these courses for free. Instructors will teach you how to take correct measurements in your vehicle to ensure it's tailored for you during a course. Additionally, the course will teach you how to adjust your seating and mirrors so they're at a proper distance for you.

For more information about CarFit courses, visit this link.

Conduct Pre-Driving Safety Checks.

Before you leave home, take time to adjust your driver's side area to ensure you can complete your trip comfortably and safely. Spend a few minutes to ensure your seat is comfortable and inclined at the best height and width for your travels. Inspect your driver's side and rear mirrors to ensure you can see all views. Double-check all of your windows to make sure they are clean and clear.

Next, fasten your seatbelts after entering your car. Not only is it a requirement, but according to the CDC, wearing a seat belt dramatically reduces the risk of death and serious injuries. The agency says it cuts the risk of serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, by 50 percent in a car accident.

Although most states have seatbelt laws that require drivers to buckle up, there are still some people who refuse to wear one. Teenagers are the group that is least likely to wear seatbelts than any other group. If you have any teen motorists in your household, remind them to buckle up before driving behind the wheel, or when they're out with a friend.

Finally, don't forget to adjust your steering wheel to make sure you can steer your vehicle properly.

Avoid Distracted Driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that takes your attention away from driving. The risk of a collision is much greater if a driver is not focused on the road ahead.

The risk of a collision is much greater if a driver is not focused on the road ahead.

Distracted driving doesn't just include fiddling with your navigation system's menu, talking on your cellphone or sending a quick text. It also involves activities such as eating, drinking or chatting with other passengers within your vehicle.

Driving is a task that requires complete attention. It means you should stay aware of road conditions and avoid any multitasking. When you read a text, it takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. It might seem like a short time, but when you're traveling 55 mph, you can travel the entire length of a football field with your eyes shut.

Sadly, distracted driving claims lives. In 2019, 3,142 people died in accidents involving distracted drivers. While driving, don't use devices that can take away your attention from the road. It means limiting the use of cellphones to make phone calls, and the use of other electronic devices.

Take a Defensive Driving Course.

Defensive driving is a method that uses safe driving strategies that help motorists predictably identify hazards. These skills involve more than knowledge about state traffic laws and procedures.'

Other drivers may not be as careful as you are on the road. Defensive driving courses teach you how to anticipate potential dangers. They also teach you how to deal with any unexpected maneuvers that other drivers may do.

Most basic defensive driving classes are four to eight hours. Students can take an online course or by watching a videotape or DVD. Other states require students to take a defensive driving course in a classroom setting led by driving instructors.

Many basic defensive driving courses teach information about traffic crashes, including the dynamics of a crash and ways to prevent them. They also teach about the use of safety equipment, like seat belts, to prevent accidents. Defensive driving courses also teach about psychological factors, alcohol, and chemical substances that can affect someone's ability. Additionally, these driving school classes review state laws as part of their curriculum.

There are several benefits of taking a defensive driving course. In most states, driving school courses allows you to reduce the points on your driver's license following a traffic ticket. Taking these courses can also reduce your insurance rates by ten percent for three to five years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following providers for driving safety classes.

AARP 55 ALIVE Driver Safety Program

Call 1 (888) 227-7669 to find out about driver safety courses in your area.

AAA Safe Driving for Mature Operators Program

Contact your local AAA organization to find out about courses near you.

National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course

Call 1 (800) 621-7619 for more information about their courses.

Driving School Association of the Americas, Inc.

Call 1 (800) 270-3722 for a schedule of their recent classes.

Plan Ahead Before Longer Road Trips.

When heading out to vacation, work or just an errand around town, plan enough time to ensure you can complete your trip safely. Map out your course before leaving for your destination. Additionally, schedule enough time for rest stops, food breaks, business calls or other tasks before you head out.

If you get tired or hungry, pull over to eat or drink something.

Obey the Speed Limit.

Slow down while driving. When you're speeding, you don't have enough time to react to a hazardous situation. When you drive at faster speeds, you also increase the severity of accidents. When you're driving on the road, it's easy to lose track of how fast you are driving on public streets and highways.

Unfortunately, speeding on the road comes with increased risks and is one of the biggest causes of fatalities and injuries in accidents. If you receive a ticket, it will also add points to your driver's license. An insurance company can raise your rates based on a single speeding ticket.

Spot Potential Traffic Dangers.

When driving down the road, look far ahead to spot what may be coming your way. Scan the road for potential hazards that can endanger you or put others in danger.

For instance, if you're riding on an interstate, there may be an exit lane that merges with your lane. Additionally, there may be a busy parking lot where drivers constantly enter onto the roadway and onto your lane.

Additionally, look behind you to see if there are any cars behind you. Use your car's rearview mirrors whenever possible to identify any risks.

Once you identify a potential road hazard, decide how you'll handle any potential scenarios.

Drive Cautiously in Inclement Weather.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, weather-related car crashes kill an average of 5,376 people annually. These accidents are far deadlier than fatalities from hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. When driving on the road, pay attention to changing weather conditions.

Drive cautiously when there is inclement weather in your area. Wet, icy or slick roads can change how your vehicle behaves on the road.

For instance, slow down when driving down icy, wet or snowy roads. If bright sunlight is blocking your view, slow down to give other drivers more space. Make sure you adjust your driving according to the conditions. Use low beam headlights when weather conditions deteriorate, or if there is low visibility.

Increase Your Distance.

When driving in traffic, try to maintain extra space between another car and your vehicle. You should keep at least two car lengths between yourself and the other vehicle.

Drivers should obey the three-second rule. Take a stationary object along the road ahead of you. Pay attention to when the back of your vehicle passes the object. The front of your vehicle should come to that object three seconds later.

Maintain Your Vehicle.

Even if you are the safest driver in the world, you cannot avoid a crash if your windshield wipers are broken, you have bad brakes or other issues that can cause emergencies on the road. Make sure your car undergoes routine maintenance to keep it running well, so you can avoid a crash.

To maintain your vehicle:

  • Make sure you have enough gas in your vehicle.

  • Take your car to a mechanic to get regular tune-ups.

  • Clean your windows, windshields, and mirrors regularly.

  • Use Rain-X or other windshield wiper products to keep your windshields clean.

  • Keep a cloth inside to wipe away any dust or grime.

  • When your windshield wipers blades wear out, have them replaced immediately.

  • Look for vehicles with steering and automatic transmissions.

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The Best Insurance Discounts for Safe Driving

Practicing safe driving can also save you money and earn you a car insurance discount on your policy. Here are three top companies offering cost savings programs.

Allstate Rewards for Safe Drivers

Allstate says defensive driving and other safe driving practices can help their policyholders to earn rewards. The company has an Allstate Safe Driving Bonus program where customers will earn a bonus every six months they don't have an accident. The bonuses are directly delivered to customer's bank accounts unless they arrange for the company to deliver them by mail. You can contact a local Allstate Insurance Agent to enroll in the program.

State Farm's DriveSafe and Save

State Farm has a DriveSafe and Save Program that allows drivers to earn a discount of up to 30 percent on their auto insurance just for signing up. The company uses OnStar or your cell phone to track your driving habits. The program keeps track of events like quick acceleration, hard braking, fast cornering and distracted driving.

USAA SafePilot Program

The insurance provider allows safe drivers in selected areas to get a 30 percent insurance discount on their policies for safe driving during a policy period. Customers can also earn a ten percent discount when they enroll in the program. Individuals can use USAA's SafePilot App on their cellphones. It will show you how well you're driving and how to improve. It's available for free on iOS and Android devices.

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Getting the Lowest Rate and Discount

Let SmartFinancial find you the cheapest car insurance provider in your area. Your new agent will talk to you about safe driving programs and if taking a course may get you a discount. Begin a free quote by entering your zip code below.

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