It’s a question for the ages: which state holds the dubious distinction of housing America’s worst drivers? Just in time for increased summer holiday traffic and related accident claims, SmartAsset.com has the answer.
Researchers with the group trawled through National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to craft rankings based on the percentage of insured drivers in the state; DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers; vehicular-related deaths per 1,000 drivers; and Google trends on automobile ticket-related searches.
According to that methodology, the states with the worst drivers in the country are:
There are some interesting regional patterns here. The South and Southeast regions of the US account for six of the top 10 states, with common problems including DUI and lack of insurance. Only 74% of drivers in Oklahoma are insured – the worst rate in the nation – followed by Florida and Tennessee.
Florida also tops other states in its Google searches for “speeding tickets” and “traffic tickets,” perhaps leading to its status was the worst driving state in the country.
Yet these statistics do not necessarily translate into high auto insurance rates across the board. Just two states – Florida and New Jersey – appear on Insure.com’s list of states with the most expensive premiums in 2015. Drivers in Florida pay the fifth highest premiums in the nation, with an average of $1,742 in annual payments, while New Jersey pays an average $1.595.
The entire top 10 list includes:
Yet producers in states on this list say their drivers are rather poor, as well.
New Orleans insurance agent Allen Bordeaux said he’s not surprised by the figures.
“It seems it’s always pretty much been this way as far back as I can remember,” Bordeaux said. “I hear that drivers here a little bit more adventurous than in other places. They tend to run yellow lights regularly and things of that nature.”
Bordeaux said this lack of attention to detail is reflected in the policies he sells, with Louisiana being “at the bottom of the barrel for a while, as far as rates go.”
“It’s relative to where we live, the condition of the highways and streets,” he said. “It probably also has something to do with the amount of people trying to get around every day.”
There are, of course, several other factors that contribute to an auto insurance premium. In the most expensive state, Michigan, unusual no-fault auto insurance regulation drives much of the higher prices.
Unlike other states, Michigan requires drivers to carry auto insurance policies with unlimited medical benefits. Insurers pay medical claims up to $530,000 in Michigan, while the nonprofit Michigan Catastrophic Claim Association covers any additional costs.
Car owners are also required to pay an annual assessment to the association, which is currently $186 per vehicle.
Researchers with Insure.com conducted the study by compiling rates from six large insurance carriers in 10 ZIP codes in every state. The rates were for a full-coverage policy for a 40-year-old man with a clean driving record and good credit. Vehicles included the 20 best-selling vehicles in the US, which represent roughly 40% of all vehicles sold. The models were rated on their “cheapest-to-insure trim level.”
by Caitlin Bronson
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
If you drive, you need auto insurance coverage. But just exactly which type of coverage should you have, and which ones are you required to have? In this video are the key features of auto insurance (depending on your unique circumstances, you may or may not need all these features): Click here to watch video or on the image below
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Your vehicle's brakes are essential to your safety and your financial security. Brakes that are in tip-top shape will help you avoid an accident. If you avoid accidents you can likely avoid an auto insurance rate hike.
With that in mind, brakes require maintenance and replacement — just like every other aspect of your vehicle. If you have concerns about the quality of your brakes, ask an automotive technician to take a look at the pads and rotors.
Let's take a look at some of the most common signs that show your brakes are nearing the end of their useful life.
If you drive with the radio on, turn it down for a full day of quiet driving. Listen for any clues that your brakes need maintenance or replacement. If you notice a squealing noise when applying the brakes, it is a sign the brake pads might need replacement.
Other concerning sounds include buzzing and scraping noises. These come from the metal tabs positioned at the top of brake pads. Known as wear indicators, these tabs warn you that it is time for new brake pads.
It Takes Longer to Stop the Vehicle
If your brakes are not as responsive as they were in the past, bring the car to an automotive professional. Pads can only make contact with the rotors for so long before they stop generating the friction necessary for timely braking. This reduced friction results in a longer braking distance.
Your Vehicle Pulls to One Side When You Apply the Brakes
Vehicle brake pads sometimes wear at varying levels. If the brake pads on one side wear down faster than those on the other side, the vehicle might pull to the left or right when you brake. Bring your vehicle to a mechanic to determine if the brakes are the cause of the veering. But keep in mind that there might be another issue that is causing the problem. Never try to self-diagnose a problem.
The Brake Pedal Vibrates
If the brake pedal vibrates when you apply pressure, it is a sign the brake pads need attention. These pads are usually held intact with a special binding resin. The pads gradually wear down, the adhesive heats up and spreads across the rotor. If the resin fails to distribute in an even manner, the brake pedal will likely pulsate. The vehicle might not be able to brake as needed.
Have your local auto expert take a look at your vehicle and determine if new brake pads are necessary. Analysis and repair might prevent an accident that could threaten your safety and increase your car insurance rate.
We've got you covered. Call Emerge Insurance Agency at 904-677-5884 for a free car insurance quote.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Eating While Driving & The Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods
Eating while driving is the worst form of distracted driving for a driver! Yet a study of 1,000 drivers done by ExxonMobil found that over 70% of drivers admit to eating while behind the wheel and 83% drink beverages while they drive.
A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that those who eat and drive increase the odds of an accident by 80%! They also concluded that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers fussing with food and drinks. Those are some pretty staggering and eye opening statistics! As a matter of fact, those stats are worse than texting while driving numbers!
The NHTSA even went as far as to list the most dangerous foods and beverages. Starbucks would be very sad to hear that coffee takes first place. Drinking coffee is the single most dangerous food item to have in the vehicle when it comes to distracted driving. Think about it, what happens if you spill that coffee on your lap? Even when your morning coffee is sitting in a cup holder, you aren’t safe! What happens when you hit a pothole and coffee starts splashing out through the vents and holes on the lid. Doesn’t it attract your attention? Yup, your beloved coffee is putting you at risk! So please, don’t drink (coffee) and drive.
List Of The Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods & Beverages While Driving
Anything you touch, such as the steering wheel, armrest, your clothes, etc., will leave nasty chocolate fingerprints. A drivers instinctive reaction is to clean the stains, which of course, leads to a major distraction! The main reason chocolate made the top 10 most dangerous foods to eat while driving is because it’s messy. It’s not really something you can spill, it isn’t extremely hot, and it if you drop your candy bar, no big deal. It’s not something you have to clean up immediately. But when chocolate gets all over the fingers and hands, or worse yet, your nice bright white shirt on the way to your business meeting, the distraction can get dangerous.
9. Soft Drinks
A simple soft drink made the list? You betcha! Spilling a drink, having a can or bottle fall out of the cup holder, and even the act of taking a sip all lead to increased driver distractions. Searching the floorboard of your car to find that water bottle rolling around takes your eyes off the road in a worse way than texting and driving. Think about it, why is texting while driving dangerous? Because you have to take your eyes off the road, if even for just a split second. Now, what do you think happens when you are guzzling down a bottle of Pepsi or when you spill the 92oz soda in your lap? Can we say, distracted?
8. Jelly And Cream Filled Or Powdered Donuts
So you swing into Dunkin’ Donuts and get your nice hot coffee and tasty jelly donut. You take a bite, and the jelly oozes out the end and drips all over your nice new work pants. You guessed it, a major driver distraction! Now, I’ll be the first to admit, some times there is nothing better in the morning than a large cup of coffee and a surgery donut or two. My favorite is the Boston Cream Pie, but unfortunately, those probably aren’t any safer. Quite frankly, anything that has the potential to be messy is dangerous in the car. Many types of donuts are very talented at causing a messy situation and your car is not safe from such menacing donuts.
7. Fried chicken
Fried chicken is delicious, but better enjoyed at home. Eating while driving can be dangerous, but eating fried chicken while driving is just ridiculous! A driver eating fried chicken will constantly be cleaning off his or her hands from all the grease. Have you ever gotten grease on a steering wheel or an armrest? It isn’t easy to clean off once it has been there for a while! And worse yet, fried chicken can cause a mess. We’ve already covered the “messy food scenario” with the donuts, but the same thing applies here. Eat your friend chicken in the restaurant or while parked.
6. Any Barbecued Food
Who doesn’t like BBQ sauce! But remember, if it can drip, it will certainly find a way to do that while you’re driving. Getting barbecue sauce all over your clothes and nice leather car seat will surely lead to distracted driving. People try all sorts of tricks. They put napkins down on their lap, they keep baby wipes close by, and maybe even have an entire roll of paper towels ready to go. Believe me, I understand the temptation of BBQ, but it’s more suitable for the back yard than drivers seat.
5. Juicy Hamburgers
Again, if it can drip, it’ll find a way to do so in your car. Don’t let that $3 burger from McDonald’s turn into a $500 or $1,000 deductible from your insurance company. That would be an expensive burger! As one of the most frequently consumed items in vehicles, many people have grown content with eating a burger in the car. It has been so normalized in our society that fast food companies have even made it easier to eat and drive with your Big Mac or Whopper. Heck, these days, you don’t even need to exit your vehicle!
Anything containing chili, like a chili dog, sloppy Joe or Coney dog is obviously quite dangerous and distracting. Chili is fantastic on a lot of things. But chili on your steering wheel or your sweater isn’t so great, and will take your focus off the road. Now, this is one of those items you probably don’t think you’d eat while driving down the road, but, the fact is lots of people do, and eat worse. Remember, friends don’t let friends eat chili and drive.
When you hit that pothole and your taco turns into a fiesta bowl on your lap, it’s sure to cause some erratic vehicle movements. Sure, who doesn’t love a late night Taco Bell drive thru around 1am? I understand that sometimes, a good ol’ taco calls your name, but save it for when you get home. Oh, and if you have a long drive, don’t forget to order your taco in the soft shell. A soggy taco shell is no good when you finally get home.
2. Hot Soups
Who doesn’t love a nice steaming hot bowl of classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Pretty much everyone except the driver who just spilled it all over the floorboard of their car….and the person they rear end as a result. Some soup companies, like Campbell’s, are now making soup in little portable “sippy cup” looking thing. It’s a whole lot safer than trying to eat your soup from a bowl, however, even soup in portable “sippy” containers can be dangerous. It’s just as dangerous as the most dangerous food on our list…
Coffee? Yes, coffee! That’s the most dangerous food item to have in your car while you’re driving! When we think of eating while driving, we normally think of solid foods. But coffee is responsible for more distracted driving accidents than any other food item. You wouldn’t guess it with the number of Starbucks drive-thru’s and free Monday coffee at McDonalds, but the fact is, with coffee being so readily available and so popular, it is widely used. Piping hot coffee in the car is just a bad idea.
Additional Facts About Eating While Driving
Yes! Eating While Driving Really Is Dangerous!
Some distracted driving activities get a free pass. With the number of fast food drive-thru’s and Starbucks on seemingly every corner in the most dangerous driving areas, the task of eating while driving has been normalized by our society. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal and in fact, our vehicles and fast food companies have made it as easy as possible for you. Just because a certain form of distracted driving is overlooked, that doesn’t mean you should take part. Eating while driving is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than texting while driving!
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
A vehicle’s safety depends on several factors, including its make, model, year and size. Newer cars come equipped with advanced safety features like more airbags, electronic stability, crash avoidance technology and bodies engineered to reduce rollover.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that collision fatalities in late-model vehicles have dropped by more than a third in the past three years. The IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluate crashworthiness – or how well a vehicle protects its occupants during a crash. IIHS uses Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ for its ratings system, while NHTSA has a 5-Star Safety Ratings Program. It’s a good idea to look at both ratings, because they may emphasize different factors that could be important to you.
Here are six things to consider when looking at car safety.
1. Size Matters
The size of your vehicle plays a major role in safety. Smaller cars tend to be lighter and don’t provide as much protection for the driver. Heavier vehicles are less affected by collisions, but they take longer to stop.
Minivans have the lowest collision fatality rate and offer occupants better protection from injury with a driver death rate of 25 per million, according to the IIHS,. Pick-up trucks average around 52 deaths per million. Cars have a death rate of 56 per million, while 4-door mini-cars average 82 deaths per million.
2. Body Build
Most car frames are built out of steel, however, aluminum is also becoming more popular due to its reduced weight, which helps increase gas mileage. Both materials provide excellent strength and durability, so it’s also important to consider frame and body designs, which have evolved significantly and now provide even better protection for drivers and passengers. These advances help absorb collision energy and provide a high-strength structure around vehicle occupants to prevent or reduce injuries. Some are designed to collapse and redirect the force of a collision, while others provide a rigid structure around the driver.
Older vehicles don’t redirect the energy of impacts as well as newer models because of the steel used to construct the body and reinforce the vehicle’s frame.
3. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) became mandated in 2007. TPMS alert the driver when tire pressure is irregular through a display light or gauge on the instrumental panel. It’s important to keep your tires properly inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications to help prevent tire blowouts. NHTSA estimates that this safety feature can prevent upwards of 79 deaths and 10,365 injuries each year in the United States.
4. Airbag Safety
Airbags have been a standard requirement in all passenger vehicles since 1999. IIHS research shows that front airbags reduce driver fatality in frontal crashes by 29 percent. Front passenger airbags have become safer with the use of weight sensors, and NHTSA data shows this enhancement saves lives, reducing front passenger collision fatalities by 32 percent.
Newer vehicles have incorporated side airbags to protect the driver’s head from hitting the window in driver-side crashes – the IIHS found that these additional airbags reduce driver death by 37 percent in cars and 52 percent in SUVs. Some vehicles on the market also have rear-window curtain airbags to protect individuals riding in the backseats, and front center airbags to prevent the driver and passenger from colliding into one another in the event of a collision.
5. Electronic Stability Control
Electronic stability control (ESC) was first introduced in 1996. ESC uses speed sensors to allow each wheel of the vehicle to brake individually, which is the foundation of anti-lock brakes. Rotation and steering sensors detect the vehicle’s position and auto-adjust the brakes on the wheel, giving the driver more control.
6. Crash Avoidance
Crash avoidance technology includes several systems that can greatly reduce the risk and severity of collisions – adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlines, back-up cameras, blind spot monitors and front crash prevention systems.
Adaptive cruise control maintains a safe distance from vehicles you are following and even includes built-in autonomous steering and braking should a collision be imminent.
Adaptive headlights move with the curves of the road, lighting up the direction your vehicle is traveling.
Blind spot detection warns the driver that an object is present in a blind spot by illuminating a light on your side view mirror.
Front crash prevention alerts drivers to potential obstacles ahead of the vehicle and apply brakes if needed.
Back-up cameras (mandatory in all new models by 2018) and sensors help reduce the chances that a driver will back into an object, vehicle or person.
Collision safety technology has advanced in the last six to eight years and because of this, newer vehicles equipped with modern features are inherently safer than their older counterparts. The bottom line: new technology lowers the chances of collisions, injury and death.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -