Can a Hands-Free Texting App Stop Distracted Driving?

July 21st, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents No Comments »

As many people have discovered, texting and driving, much like drinking and driving, do not mix. The law takes texting quite seriously. After many instances and reports of drivers who were distracted enough by texting to cause casualties, many legal jurisdictions around the world have decide to make texting while driving illegal.

However, do these laws miss the point? Is it actually the texting that causes the distraction of the driver, or is the distraction caused by something else? Namely, would a hands free texting application of some sort allow drivers to text and drive at the same time? And most importantly, what would it take lawmakers to see the value in the idea if it worked?

Public Demands It

Lawmakers in many jurisdictions made texting while driving illegal by popular vote of the people. Over 90 percent of drivers think that texting should be illegal while driving, including those in jurisdictions where texting is not actually illegal yet. This means is that any change in the texting laws will start and end with the attitude of the voters.

Many voters also believe that texting while driving is an action mostly taken by young people, especially teenagers. As many teenagers cannot vote, the non-texting majority easily out rules them in the booth. So any hands free app would have to convince the parents of teens who text frequently that it is safe.

Loss of Coordination

The reason that texting while driving causes so many accidents is the loss of hand eye coordination. Since a hands free texting app does not require hand eye coordination, it follows that it should stop distracted driving. If the app were voice controlled, hand eye coordination would be unaffected, as speaking is done with a different part of the brain than any other motor skill.

Biologically then, this looks like an easy solution. However, as anyone who has driven while talking to a passenger knows, it’s about more than coordination. It’s about keeping your attention on the road instead of a conversation. While a hands-free app might reduce texting while driving, it may do little to combat the distraction of communicating when all focus should be on the road.

Apps Not a Complete Answer

As many apps are free or very low cost, it’s easy to see that teens especially could get their hands on the technology to stop texting while driving. Almost every teen has a smart phone, so accessibility is no problem. However, the act of carrying on a conversation is still problematic. A 2008 study at the University of Utah showed that 50 percent of drivers using hands-free headsets to talk while driving were still distracted enough to miss their exits.

By this line of thinking, the only conclusion is to say that yes, a hands-free texting app would help curb distracted driving, but it will not stop the problem. However, lawmakers have already made their decisions, and the voting public has agreed. Hands-free devices should stop texting while driving, but whether than translates into fewer distracted driving accidents is another matter.




Car Repair Monitoring Brings Consumer Satisfaction

July 19th, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents, Insurance Companies No Comments »

It was just over a decade ago that shipping companies unveiled something innovative and utterly addicting: package-tracking information online. Using a simple tracking code, customers could view every single stop their coveted shipment made from its origin to its destination, and they could even get email alerts. Its popularity skyrocketed and it’s now a standard feature among anyone who shops online.

Enter car insurance companies. Noting how well consumers responded to features like package tracking, they’ve found a way to create their own online status-monitoring system. Several insurance companies, like online car insurance retailer eSurance, have unveiled the technology. All a customer has to do is choose an authorized repair shop and then log on at home to view the progress made on the car.

Mobile Applications and Social Connections

Tracking your car repair status is satisfying enough in its own right. We all love progress, and we are all terribly impatient when our cars are out of commission. Before the advent of the -Internet, it was merely a guessing game as to when the sigh-of-relief phone call would come from the mechanic to tell us we could have our independence back.

But car repair monitoring takes it a step further. The online repair tracking tools provided by some companies can be monitored by mobile applications on smartphones — iPhone and Android specifically — as well as any desktop with a web browser. You can even choose to see photos of each repair part so you can see for yourself what is done and what remains. That means there’s no guesswork as to what the car will look like when all is said and done, offering an even bigger sigh of relief for most drivers.

The biggest sigh of relief most customers is the ability to share this information on Facebook. Whether they’re using their smartphones or their desktop computer, customers can share status information and car photos with their Facebook friends via a built in “send to Facebook” option. This eliminates the need to answer phone calls from mom, wondering when your car will be fixed so she can have her car back.

Getting Satisfaction

They’ve done studies on the car insurance policyholders who get to track their car’s repair from start to finish. They show that customers who used car repair monitoring were up to 12 percent happier with their car’s repairs — and with their insurance company itself — than those who simply had to wait around and play the auto mechanic guessing game.

Additionally, 23 percent of users were more satisfied with the timeliness of their car’s repairs, indicating that there is something to be said for knowing exactly what is going on and why it’s taking so long (or, perhaps, not taking so long) to complete the job. People get easily frustrated with a lack of information. With an abundance of it, however, they actually start to like their cars and their insurance policies. In a world full of angry tirades against insurance companies, car repair monitoring is a refreshing fix for poor car insurance service.




Who is Your Car Insurance Adjuster and What You Need to Know

July 15th, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents No Comments »

Most vehicle owners buy car insurance with the hope that they’ll never actually have to call their insurance company and use the full coverage they’ve purchased. That’s because any such phone call to an insurance company means that an insurance adjuster will arrive to inspect the damages, and this is perhaps one of the most unpopular occupations in the country. There are a few good reasons that most drivers fear an insurance adjuster, but also a few ways to ensure that this intimidation and fear doesn’t get in the way.

What Insurance Adjusters Do — and Why They’re Intimidating

After you’ve been in an accident, you will immediately need to call your insurance company and report any damages to your car as well as any injuries you’ve suffered because of the accident. In response to this phone call, they will send an insurance adjuster to your home — or wherever the vehicle is located after the accident – in order to inspect the damages and assess the amount of money it will take to repair or replace the vehicle.

Most drivers fear this part, as insurance companies typically send out one of their in-house representatives whose job is largely all about reducing the amount of money the insurance company has to pay for repairs. They’ll ask invasive questions, assuming that many of the dents, dings, and scrapes were pre-existing or the fault of the owner — and therefore not covered.

Because of this, customers often view insurance adjusters negatively. They are the people whose job it is to shield the company from over paying. Unfortunately, that can sometimes translate into making you pay large out-of-pocket sums to repair your vehicle.

How to Work With, Rather than Against, Insurance Adjusters

You can avoid the intimidating process of dealing with an in-house insurance adjuster from the first day you choose your insurance company. While many of these companies do use their own adjusters who they keep on their own payroll, an increasing number of insurance companies are contracting independent insurance adjusters in order to provide an unbiased assessment of a vehicle owner’s post-accident balance sheet.

Look for an insurance company that uses these independent insurance adjusters and you’ll almost guarantee a smoother process in the event of an emergency. They receive no benefit from the insurer for lowering estimates or damage costs.

Take Pictures and Know Your Options

Always take pictures of your vehicle’s damage immediately after the accident — and perhaps supplement them with pictures of your vehicle when you first began your policy with your present insurer. Having lots of information on hand is the best way to make sure you receive fair treatment the maximum protection your insurance policy offers.

Insurance adjusters will calculate two numbers: one that estimates the price of a high-end garage’s repairs to your vehicle, and another that estimates the cash value of the repairs at a local garage. If you’ve recently been in an accident, now is the time to consult your local mechanic and get his expert viewpoint on the cost of repairs. This is another way of being prepared, informed, and defeating the intimidating insurance adjustment process.

Conclusions

Many drivers regard insurance adjusters with fear for good reason. Their job is not a pleasant one, and the price tags they calculate can be even more unpleasant. Be informed, prepared, and ready to talk about your vehicle, and you’ll make the best of this process.




The Price of Getting Caught Driving With No Car Insurance

July 13th, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents, Costs No Comments »

Even though laws vary from state to state, all drivers must carry at least some type of car insurance. While many people are trying to cut costs because of financial hardships, going without car insurance in hopes that you won’t be caught can be a very costly mistake. Even an accidental lapse in insurance because you forgot or couldn’t afford to pay the bill can cost much more in the forms of fines and penalties for a lapse in coverage, and may raise future insurance rates.

Minimum Standards

Most states require at least a minimum amount of liability coverage to pay for vehicle damages and injuries to the other party if a driver causes a wreck. This liability insurance covers the cost of medical expenses and property damage to other persons in case of a vehicle accident, but it usually does not cover the driver’s own losses. In case of even a minor accident, the police will check to see that all drivers involved are covered by insurance (or, in a very few states, a surety bond or self-insurance policy as a substitute). Police can also request proof of car insurance at vehicle checkpoints.

Proof of Insurance Requirements

Lenders require proof of insurance on financed cars. Often, lender requirements are higher than the states’ minimum liability coverage requirements. The lender will likely require comprehensive and collision coverage to protect the value of their investment in the vehicle in case it goes into repossession.

If the insurance policy lapses for any reason, the lender can force coverage by obtaining a policy on their own and charging the borrower for the cost. These policies are typically much more expensive than a regular insurance policy and they protect only the bank’s interest, not the interests of the driver. Forced coverage does not provide any liability insurance. If the lender forces coverage on your vehicle, the best thing to do is purchase a standard insurance policy as soon as possible and show the lender proof of coverage.

What if an Accident Happens?

If you are in an accident while driving without insurance, you can be liable for all the other party’s medical expenses. You will also be responsible for paying the costs to repair or replace the damaged vehicle. In addition, you may be charged with violating state motor vehicle laws, resulting in fines, court-ordered community service, or suspension of driving privileges.

Fines for driving without insurance can range from $500 to upwards of $5,000 depending on the state. In states with a punitive point system, 3 points or more may be added to a driver’s record for failing to have insurance. Some states even impose jail time of up to a year for driving with no insurance coverage.

Because car insurance companies run background and driving record checks on applicants, and since driving without a license is a violation of motor vehicle laws, which can add “points” to a driver’s record, being found guilty of driving without insurance can make it harder to obtain affordable car insurance in the future. Lapses in coverage may raise motor vehicle insurance premiums considerably or even disqualify a driver from obtaining a policy.




What to Expect for your Insurance Rate after a Car Accident

July 6th, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents No Comments »

If you are involved in a car accident, several factors could determine what happens to your car insurance rate. Your rate might go up if the police determine that the accident was the result of reckless driving on your part. You might not see a difference in your rates if the accident was the other driver’s fault. The severity of the accident and the overall cost of the claim you file can also play a part in your subsequent insurance rates.

Police Decide Which Driver is at Fault

The fault of any accident is partially determined by the authorities on the scene. The police will usually issue a traffic ticket to the driver who is at fault based on the traffic law that was broken. In complicated cases, the police may not determine fault until they can investigate further. Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company can agree on who is at fault, or battle out the question through arbitration or a lawsuit. Although the police do not decide which driver was at fault for an accident, a traffic ticket weighs heavily against you. The adjuster will look at all aspects of the case and apply any mitigating factors. However, not every accident is the fault of one driver or the other. Sometimes drivers share fault.

What Happens When you are Found at Fault

If you are at fault, your insurance rates will probably increase as soon as the insurance companies reach a settlement, depending on your state’s laws. Causing an accident will put you in a higher risk category with the insurance company, so your rates will increase based on your new standing. The only time your rates would not increase after an accident that is your fault would be if you qualify for a special accident forgiveness discount through your insurance company. Otherwise, you should expect to pay more for your coverage in the near future.

What Happens When the Accident is not Your Fault

If the accident is completely the other driver’s fault, you will probably not notice any changes to your insurance rates. Since the other driver is responsible for the accident, any claims resulting from the collision are paid by the other driver’s insurance rather than yours. This is only true if the other driver is 100% responsible for the accident. If fault is shared among the drivers, your rates will probably increase if you were 50% or more at fault. This depends on your state’s particular laws.

Consequences Depend on Previous Driving Record

Sometimes your insurance rates will increase even if you were not at fault for the accident. If you have a spotty driving record, being involved in an accident of any kind can put you in a higher risk category. The time frame is different from company to company, but most insurance companies will raise your rates if you have had an accident or a traffic ticket within three years of your latest accident. They consider the new accident part of a pattern that reflects your driving behavior as risky, so they increase your rates because there is a higher chance that you will need to file a claim.




The Difference between Old and Classic Cars

June 24th, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents, Insurance Categories, Insurance Rates No Comments »

The definition of a classic car can be slippery. Some people will not recognize a car as classic unless it was built in the 1920s and 1930s, before mass production. Some people would consider the New Volkswagen Beetle an instant classic in the cultural sense. There are some standard rules established by certain organizations like your local DMV, which will usually issue classic license plates to anyone driving a car that is more than 21 years old. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should put classic plates on your 1990 Nissan Pathfinder, though.

Age Does Qualify – Eventually

For a car to be a true classic in the most common sense of the word, it needs to be old enough to take you back in time. Cars from the 50s and 60s are so intrinsically different from the cars of today that every surviving example could fall into the classic category. When you look at a classic car, you feel transported to a different year with a different culture. If a car can remain roadworthy for more than two generations, it will be a classic by almost any standard.

Increasing Value After Production Ends

Aside from age, the value of the car plays a part in whether or not it qualifies as a classic. All cars naturally depreciate from the day they leave the dealer’s lot. Classic cars are the ones that stop depreciating and start to gain in value when the numbers dwindle over time. They might have distinctive styles, like the Ford Thunderbird, or they might become popular for social reasons. Volkswagen buses began to appreciate remarkably after the release of Cars, featuring a big yellow VW bus as one of the main characters.

Rarity Improves Status

The harder it becomes to attain an item, the more valuable it can be. Some cars become classics simply because there are few left. A once boring family sedan in 1962 could become a classic today because few of them were preserved. That type of car was usually driven by families who were more interested in getting from one place to another than in preserving the car for future generations. When a car becomes an endangered species, it automatically becomes a classic.

Classic is in the Eye of the Beholder

The Classic Cars Club of America (CCCA) defines classic cars as those, “built in limited production numbers and were quite expensive when new. As a group, they represent the pinnacle of engineering, styling and design for their era.” When it comes to insurance, a classic is an older car for which parts are expensive or hard to find. The book value of the car may be irrelevant when it comes to the cost of repairing the car. Classic cars are best insured through agreed value, where you and your insurance company agree how much the car would be worth if it were involved in a total loss accident.




Auto Insurance Cheaper for Larger Cars

June 21st, 2011 jess Posted in Accidents, Insurance Rates No Comments »

Car insurance rates for larger cars can be significantly lower than the rates for smaller cars. The main reason for the difference lies in the fact that larger cars are safer to drive. SUVs and Mini-vans rank among the least expensive cars to insure because of their size and the tendency for their drivers to behave more responsibly on the road. Smaller cars are more expensive to insure because they suffer damage more easily and their passengers are at a higher risk for injury. In addition, small car owners are more likely to be teens because they are more affordable.

Lower Risk of Severe Injury

Most large cars are for families. This means they are equipped with the latest safety technology. Parents demand their cars be as safe as possible to protect their children in the case of an accident. Front and side airbags, curtain airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes are common on larger cars. The roominess of the interior also allows more space for passengers, making them less likely to become injured from striking other parts of the interior in a crash. Smaller cars can cause more injuries because the passenger spaces are so much smaller.

Safer Drivers

Not only are the vehicles safer, their drivers tend to be more responsible as well. People traveling with children tend to drive more defensively than if they were alone or with another adult. The accident rate for larger cars is lower because people driving them pay closer attention to the way they drive. In addition, many family cars have drivers that fall into the less expensive insurance range, based on marital status and age. Younger drivers don’t generally purchase large vehicles.

Sustain Less Damage in a Collision

The sheer size of a large vehicle makes it less expensive to insure, as well. When a large car runs into another car or object, the impact spreads over a wider area of the vehicle because the body is so big. This lessens the force to any one point in the vehicle. Large cars tend to sustain less damage, especially when in collisions with smaller cars that absorb much of the impact. For example, if a small car runs into a fire hydrant, the entire front end of the car could crunch up into the windshield. A larger car running into a fire hydrant will probably only sustain damage to the front bumper and possibly part of the grill.




Top Tips for Safe Car Driving

April 16th, 2010 Tammy Posted in Accidents No Comments »

When you are looking to save money on auto insurance, you will certainly want to consider your driving record. This is an area where you will want to consider how you have driven in the past and how you may be driving now. If you want to save money on auto insurance, there is really no better way than simply having an excellent driving record; it can have a huge impact on what you pay for the costs of being insured.

One of the best tips you will get when it comes to getting lowest costs on auto insurance is to be certain you do all you can to drive the speed limit. It is certainly a fact that if you do drive the speed limit, it will dramatically affect the chances of your being involved in an accident.

If you are like a lot of people, you will want to avoid getting speeding tickets and this will also you to avoid that as well. It is a great idea to be certain you take the time to drive the speed limit and to always watch your speed when you are driving. If you get a speeding ticket, it can have a strong impact on how much more insurance will cost you. A speeding ticket alone is enough for your insurance to increase a lot, so be certain to bear this in mind.

One more thing you will want to think about to help you drive safer is to be certain tha you watch for the other driver. Many accidents are certainly a cause of the other driver and not you, so in order to avoid accidents and drive as safely as possible, you will want to always watch the other drivers.

There are many times, it may seem regardless of how careful you are driving and if you are indeed driving the speed limit, that you can easily get involved in an accident and this means that you simply have to accept this. However, you will want to bear in mind that accidents will certainly increase your insurance premiums and it is key to always remember this.

Safe car driving is usually something that is learnt over time and experience can certainly go a very long ways in allowing you to be a better driver. The more you drive the better you will usually get at it so, keep practicing it and you will certainly improve over time.

It is key to remember that auto insurance rates are based a lot on your driving history.  So, if you are a safe driver, you will certainly have a much less chance of getting an accident and that will allow your insurance to dramatically increase. If you can stay away from accidents, there is a very good chance that you can keep your insurance costs down and this is imperative




How to Avoid Car Accidents

April 4th, 2010 Tammy Posted in Accidents, Insurance Companies No Comments »

When it comes to making sure you have the best possible auto insurance rate, you will want to be certain above all things that you try your best to avoid car accidents. This is something that may be much easier to do than you would have thought if you just take a little extra time to learn how to do so.

Car accidents are something that may be avoidable if you do take the time to learn ways to be a safer driver and there are a lot of ways for you to do this when you take the time to learn some safe driving tips. One of the best ways to help you find some great ways to drive as safely as possible is by doing some research.

When you take the time to do your research, you are certain to find that there are many ways to allow you to avoid getting involved in car accidents, but when you do all you can to make it happen to avoid these accidents, you will be much better off in the long run as well as short run.

It is a great idea to make certain that you drive the speed limit for one thing and this will certainly allow you to reduce the odds of getting in an accident as most people will tell you. The more time you take to drive the speed limit as well as make certain you do, the more likely it will be that you will have fewer accidents.

There really is not any better way to avoid accidents than to drive the speed limit, so you will want to take the time and be cautious enough to drive the speed limit at all times. It is a great idea to use your cruise control when possible and this can really help make certain that you do drive the speed limit when you use cruise control.

One of the safest ways to get around town is by using the cruise control and you can then be certain that you are driving the speed limit you are supposed to. When you are looking to make the most of your trips and also to try and drive as safely as possible, it is in your best interest to drive the speed limit.

When it comes to doing this one thing, it is much harder than it may sound, so it is always a good idea to use the cruise control as an option to maintain your speed.

Also, you will certainly want to watch for the other driver as much as possible. This is crucial when it comes avoiding accidents as much as possible. When you are able to take the time to watch out for the other driver, there is an excellent chance you will will be capable of much safer driving and this is precisely what will help you to avoid accidents.




How Much Does My Car Insurance Increase if I Get Into an Accident?

February 18th, 2010 Tammy Posted in Accidents, Costs No Comments »

If you are like most people, you will want to do all you can to prevent your auto insurance from increasing. One of the best ways to help you do this is to remain accident free for as long as you possibly can. This means that you will want to be certain that you try to do all you can to avoid an accident and this is possible if you try to do all the right things, however, what will happen if you are involved in an accident?

There are many things that will change very fast if you are involved in an accident. One of the biggest things you will have to consider changing when it comes to an accident you may be involved in is just how much your insurance will increase. You will have a huge increase in the amount of money you will have to pay for insurance, so you will certainly want to keep that in mind.

Auto insurance is something you will have to have, so it’s a great idea to know a much  about it as possible. So, one thing a lot of people will want to know for certain is exactly how much their insurance will increase if they are involved in a serious accident.

This will largely depend on if you are the cause of the accident or if another person caused the accident. If the accident was your fault you can certainly count on your auto insurance increasing a lot and this is something you can pretty much count on. Some time you can expect the auto insurance to increase significantly and this is pretty much what most people will expect.

Car insurance is something that we all need to have and it is never a great idea to have to have to pay a lot for it, so you will want to be sure you take the time to know what to expect in the event you are involved in an accident.

You can certainly expect some high insurance increases in the event you are involved in an auto accident and this will be something you can count on for a very long time. It varies how long you can expect these increases to stay that way, but they can last as long as three years at least.

Accidents are one of the biggest things to cause an increase in your auto insurance and this is something you should be aware of for many reasons, to help you avoid them in one of the largest ones and to help you stay safe. The fact that your insurance will increase drastically is enough to want you to do all you can to stay away from having one. The more you are able to avoid one, the better off you will be, so try to work hard to drive as safely as possible.