As automobile manufacturers ramp up driver assistance and safety features with each successive model year, it may seem like we would start to see a decrease in traffic fatalities. However, data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows us that motor vehicle deaths reached 40,200 in 2016, an increase of six percent from 2015.
When you get in your car, your goal is to reach your destination without incident. Defensive driving practices and common sense on the road help, but it’s impossible to foresee every possible outcome. Choosing an auto insurance plan with the right level of coverage is the first step to protecting your assets before you pull out of the driveway, no matter what life throws at you.
The 2016 NSC statistics mark the first time since 2007 that the number of deaths surpassed 40,000 people. The 2017 Driver Safety Public Opinion Poll from the NSC shows that drivers are more concerned about driving as a potential cause of injury or death to their family than gun violence, severe weather, infectious disease, prescription pain medications, and flying. Among their top driving concerns: drunk or drugged drivers, distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, speeders, and road rage.
Lower gasoline prices and a recovering economy contributed to an estimated three percent increase in overall vehicle mileage, which in turn likely drove up the fatality numbers for the year. In the first half of 2016, average gas prices in the U.S. fell below $1.70. The last time it was that low was in 2009. It follows that more people are likely and able to fill up their cars and hit the road when gas prices are more favorable.
Motor vehicle accidents don’t always result in death, of course. The NSC report cites that 4.6 million serious injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2016 as a result of traffic accidents. The total cost for all these mishaps? $432 billion, according to Fortune, when you total up “losses in wages and productivity, medical expenses, property damage, employer costs and administrative expenses.”
What is the best way to protect your vehicle and your assets against damage from an accident? Some states require minimum amounts of liability protection for bodily injury, property damage, or both. Even if it’s not legally mandated, it’s a good idea to surpass the bare minimum of protection so you don’t find yourself in a tricky situation if you cause an accident, or are the victim of an accident caused by an uninsured motorist.
You simply can’t predict and avoid every single potential mishap on the road. Fender benders happen, as do more serious collisions. You can absolutely prepare ahead of time to protect your finances and your peace of mind whenever you get behind the wheel of your vehicle. CoverHound is here to help you find an auto insurance plan that fits your needs. We wish you safe travels!