You’re probably right if you feel like you have seen more accidents lately. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes will claim an estimated 42 795 lives in U.S. roads by 2022. This is a dramatic rise over 2019.
Although traffic in the United States dropped during the first year following the pandemic outbreak, road deaths increased. In the second half 2020, traffic fatalities grew by double digits for four consecutive quarters.
Death rates are still the same. David Zuby is the executive vice president of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Chief Research Officer.
It is this paradox that prompted U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to refer to it as a “national crises of traffic fatalities”
Who’s at fault?
The deadly combination of speed, recklessness and mass
The rise of road deaths is not due to one factor, but a combination.
IIHS reports that in the first days of pandemics, the lack of police and open roads encouraged bad driving behaviors.
Speeding is one of the most common. The 2023 U.S. Auto Insurance trends report by LexisNexis shows that major speeding offenses increased 20% between 2022 and 2019.
The increase in traffic fatalities is also due to more drunk drivers and less people using seat belts. The cars themselves could also be at fault.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 2021 was the year when the average weight of the models sold in the United States reached its highest level.
There are many of these vehicles on the roads. J.D. Power estimates that 80% of new car sales in 2022 will come from trucks and SUVs. According to J.D. Zuby says that if a pedestrian or bicyclist is struck by an SUV, they are more likely to sustain serious injuries and even die than if the car struck them.
What does the increase in road fatalities mean for you?
How else could the increase in road deaths affect you, besides the morbid idea that you have a slight increased chance of being involved in an accident? Your wallet is one way.
Scott Holeman is a spokesperson with the Insurance Information Institute. He says that more severe auto accidents increase insurance rates. Insurance companies, who are already struggling with inflation, natural disaster losses, and the tough regulations in certain large states, now face higher claim payouts due to car accidents. LexisNexis’ report shows that the cost or severity of claims has risen by 35 percent for liability claims since 2019, and 40 percent for collision claims.
Rising costs for insurance companies also mean higher costs for drivers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that car insurance costs rose by 17% in the month of May compared with the previous year, continuing a 9-month streak of double-digit increases.
Consider these few points:
Check your insurance coverage
You don’t want to be surprised if, in the future, you need to file a claim and you do not have sufficient insurance. It’s important to review the coverage of your auto insurance or speak to your agent to confirm your policy.
Pay special attention to your liability coverage. It pays out for the medical costs or damage to property of others that you are responsible for. Your liability insurance limit might not cover the full cost of medical treatment or property damage after an accident. You could be responsible for the remaining balance if this happens.
Holeman understands that nobody wants to go through their policy. But it is an essential component of your financial health .”
It is normal to see insurance rates increase. If they are much higher than you thought when you signed, it’s worth considering other options. Holeman says, “The good thing about insurance is there are many people who want to do business with you.”
Do your research before contacting other insurance companies. Compare car insurance quotes based on similar amounts of coverage and check customer satisfaction and complaint ratings. Don’t forget about asking for discounts.
Adopt safe driving practices
The best thing you can do for your finances is practice good driving habits. Holeman says that it only takes seconds to cause a serious accident, particularly when drivers are speeding.
There are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe while driving:
Safety laws are important. Wearing a seatbelt, adhering to the traffic rules and refraining from binge watching your favorite shows on your smartphone are all part of this.
Check your vehicle’s condition regularly. This will help you avoid any unexpected problems on the road. Don’t forget to check your engine light.
You can limit distractions by putting your phone in Do Not Disturb mode or downloading a driving safety app such as LifeSaver to prevent you from feeling tempted to answer every call and check your messages. Save the fries and burgers you bought for when you arrive at your destination. Or, eat them in the parking area.
Consider adding new technologies to your car list, such as automatic braking or blindspot alerts.