How Your Braking Style Can Determine Your Accident Risk

Your braking style can determine your auto insurance rates if you're covered by a company that monitors your driving. For example, drivers with Progressive can participate in Snapshot and have their driving styles monitored. Through this program, Progressive finds that your braking style can determine your accident risk because drivers who brake more often are more likely to get involved in an accident. Read more.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021

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When it comes to auto insurance, companies that provide policies gather certain pieces of information about drivers before issuing a policy. Some of the information that the insurance companies look at include your age, sex, the type of car that you drive, your overall driving record, where you live, and even your credit record (if credit checks are legal in the area that you live in). The auto insurance companies look over this information in order to determine what the risk is to provide you with an insurance policy.

Essentially, the insurance company is gambling on how likely you are to be involved in any type of accident. After all, this is their business and they want to make sure that they are as profitable as possible.  Because of this, some insurance companies have begun to monitor your driving habits.

How Your Driving Habits Are Being Monitored

There are some insurance companies, such as Progressive, that are now offering what they call “Snapshot.” This service allows you to mount a driving log device in your vehicle. Progressive offers this service as part of their pay as you go program and it could end up saving you money. The purpose of the program is to gather data on when you drive the most as well as the type of driving style that you have.

Driving Trends

Through the Snapshot program,  Progressive has found that there are some trends among drivers. One of the trends that it has seen is that a person that has a habit of braking hard is more likely to be involved in an accident than someone who does not brake hard.

One of the most common types of insurance claims is rear end collisions. Insurance companies state that safe drivers will allow an average of 39% more time to stop and 32% more distance. In addition there is a large variance in how drivers brake. Some of the most aggressive drivers take an average time of 12 seconds to brake from driving 60 miles per hour and the more gradual drivers take up to 40 seconds.

What this means is that often times those who drive fast and smooth are not as much of a liability on the road than those who may drive slower, but are less anticipatory. When you are in traffic there is always the person who will accelerate extremely fast and then slam on their brakes repeatedly instead of just driving smoothly ahead.

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Factors that Contribute to the Majority of Accidents

There are four main factors that contribute to most accidents. These include driver behavior, poor road maintenance, roadway design, and equipment failure. Almost all accidents that occur on the roads involve some type of driver behavior in combination with one of the other factors. Almost every driver will try to blame an equipment failure, the road conditions, or another driver for the accident. After the facts have been presented it is typically the implicated driver’s behavior that is the primary cause of the accident.

Driver Behavior

When an accident occurs it is human behavior to blame something or somebody else. One study done on drivers who had been involved in an accident came to the conclusion that nearly 80% of the drivers involved felt that the other person involved in the accident could have done something different in order to prevent the accident from occurring. Only 5% of the people involved admitted that the accident was their fault. Most surveys that are conducted reveal that the majority of people think that they are a safer and more skillful driver than average.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving consists of speeding, making unsafe lane changes, not signaling, tailgating, not yielding the right away, impaired driving, and disregard for traffic signals. There is a link to aggressive driving or riskier driving and higher risk in other areas of life as well, even criminal acts. It has been shown that those who have a speeding problem (driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit) typically have a criminal record as well and they are also more likely to have property or drug offenses.

From the data collected by Progressive it is found that males are often more aggressive than females. Surprisingly, there are some teen drivers who are very mindful and understand the art of driving smoothly with the safest ¼ of 16 year olds having fewer hard braking issues than the average driver of the other age groups.

According to Progressive, those enrolled in the pay as you go program are saving about $150 a year over a more traditional policy. However, it is important to note that this type of policy is best for those who drive under 50 miles each day and do not typically drive between the hours of 12 am to 4 am as these are the riskiest hours to be on the road.

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