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How UK Drivers Can Possibly Lower the High Cost of Insurance Premiums

Have you ever wondered why insurance premiums are so high? Are you looking for ways to lower those high premiums? In order to understand why premiums are costly, you must first understand how insurers set them. Then to lower the premiums, you must address the reasons why they are high. This may be easy in some instances, but more difficult in other instances.

Insurance companies are trying to make a profit just like any other business. So in order to make a profit, the insurers have to bring in more money than they pay out. To do this, insurers use a wide range of data and statistics to determine what risks they’re taking by insuring each individual driver.

Some statistics to consider

Over 1.2 million people are killed annually and approximately 50 million are injured or disabled worldwide due to road traffic accidents. Many drivers blame these accidents on other drivers, equipment failure, roadway design, poor roadway maintenance, or inclement weather. However, 95% of road traffic accidents involve driver error, usually combined with one of the following factors.

The most leading causes of road traffic accidents worldwide are excessive speed, driver distraction, and aggressive driving behaviour. Although every driver is guilty of these driver errors at some point in their driving career, others are guilty of these poor driving habits every time they drive. Statistics and various research studies have demonstrated that young male drivers between the ages of 16-25 are the most likeliest to have aggressive driving habits. This is based off the fact that 73% of the fatalities due to road traffic accidents are young males under 25-years old.

In one recent European study, 80% of those surveyed believed that the other driver could have prevented the accident they were involved in. Only 5% admitted they were the only driver at fault. The majority of drivers consider themselves to be above average in driving safety and skill levels. Most drivers have the tendency to think that accidents only happen to other people, but will never happen to themselves. Yet, statistics demonstrate that most drivers will have an accident within the first 2-5 years of attaining a driver license, especially if they’re under the age of 25.

Another study was completed in 1995 by the Automobile Association in Great Britain. It revealed that 88% of the respondents reported having at least one form of aggressive or rude behaviour directed at them by another driver. It also revealed that 60% of the very same surveyed drivers admitted to having directed an aggressive or abusive act toward another driver. These behaviours included aggressive tailgating or flashing lights at the other driver due to annoyance. They also included rude and aggressive gestures, verbal abuse, physical assault, and deliberate obstruction of the other driver’s vehicle.

Equipment failure factor

Whereas equipment failure used to be a major factor, manufacturers now have to meet high safety standards. Therefore, less than 5% of all road traffic accidents are due to any type of equipment failure. Most modern vehicle break downs are now usually due to a computer or a sensor malfunctioning. However, in some cases the brakes, tires, or steering and suspension system may fail or be defective.

Roadway design factor

Although roadway design may be a major cause of road traffic accidents in very poor, third world countries, it’s rarely the cause in well-off countries. Countries such as the UK and USA have spent many years and a great amount of money on researching roadway designs to ensure a high level of safety.

Several factors are considered when designing and constructing the roads. Numerous local government agencies, law enforcement, and civil engineers consult with each other to create safe road layouts and traffic management systems that fit each local condition. Permanent hazard visibility, such as bends, intersections, merging lanes, school zones, and pedestrian crossings are considered. Consideration of temporary hazards such as parked or disabled vehicles, traffic jams, road construction, wild animals, and accidents are also included in the design. Other factors taken into consideration are roadway surfaces, traffic control devices, traffic flow, weather, and identification signs.

Poor roadway maintenance factor

Poor roadway maintenance is likely to contribute to more road traffic accidents than roadway design is. However, it’s not as big a contributor as many drivers try to claim. An alert driver should be able to avoid this type of hazard even if the road was in disrepair or not well-maintained, except in extreme instances, such as a sinkhole suddenly appearing. An alert driver should be able to notice debris or potholes well enough in advance to take proper precautions. Thus, it is mostly due to driver error if poor roadway maintenance is a contributing factor. Anyone driving on a poorly maintained roadway should have enough common sense to proceed with extreme caution.

Lowering insurance premiums

After considering the aforementioned statistics and research data, it’s easy to understand why insurers charge a high premium. These statistics demonstrate that most road traffic accidents could be avoided if humans, especially drivers, merely paid more attention to what they were doing while using roadways. The statistics also demonstrate how risky and costly it can be to insure all drivers, especially if they’re prone to poor or aggressive driving habits.

Therefore, the only sure way to lower insurance premiums for everyone is to lower the amount of risks the insurers have to take. To do this, all drivers, especially the young male drivers, must work to eliminate or at least reduce the number of road traffic accidents and their leading causes. All drivers need to acquire better driving habits.

Eliminating leading causes

The most major cause of road traffic accidents is the hardest to eliminate. This is because most accidents occur due to drivers’ errors made while being distracted, speeding, or driving aggressively. The distractions can be caused by interior or exterior sounds, sights, and smells. A human being is constantly collecting data from his or her surroundings, and processing the information gathered.

Sometimes the person gets overloaded with too much information and just can’t process all of it fast enough. This can cause serious errors in judgement while driving. So all driver distractions should be reduced or eliminated as much as is possible. For instance, keep the mobile phone turned off while driving and keep the radio turned down low. Keep conversations with passengers to a minimum. Don’t permit any eating, drinking, or smoking to take place in the car while it’s in motion.

It may also be difficult to eliminate the aggressive driving habits and attitudes behind the aggressive driving behaviour. Aggressive driving includes speeding, frequent or unsafe lane changes, and tailgating. It also includes failure to signal, failure to yield right of way, and disregarding traffic controls. Moreover, it also includes driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, illness, medication, stress, or fatigue. However, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible to accomplish. People can learn to drive less aggressively. They can learn to control their road rage and rude behaviour. Most of all, they can learn that driving is a privilege and not a given right. There’s a proper time and place for everything. Roadways are not the proper place to be aggressive and while driving is not the proper time to be so easily distracted.

To avoid accidents due to equipment failure, do your best to properly maintain your vehicle and have a trained individual inspect all the vehicle components on a regular basis. Check or have your mechanic check your tires every 5,000 miles. Have a mechanic check the vehicle’s steering and suspension system every 10,000 miles. Have your brakes routinely checked, and whenever there doesn’t seem to be the right tension on the brake pedal. Do a routine safety inspection to ensure all the lights, brakes, horn, windscreen wipers, and other safety features are functioning properly.

If each driver takes responsibility for their own driving behaviour, more accidents could be avoided. If more accidents were avoided, then insurers wouldn’t be taking on too much risk. If insurers don’t have to take on too much risk, they could lower the insurance premiums for everyone. So do your part, and work to improve your own driving behaviour. Slow down, get rid of the excess distractions, and drive politely.

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