Car Insurance Statistics that Will Surprise You

By Jessica Bosari
After 13 years in personal and commercial insurance, Jessica Bosari now writes about personal finance, car insurance, risk management and related topics. Since 2008, she has been simplifying complex ideas through engaging articles for her readers.

Car Insurance Statistics that Will Surprise You

Statistics can be dry, but they can also be enlightening. For instance, did you know that half of all vehicle accident deaths happen on the weekends? Did you know that most accident deaths happen between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.? Statistics like these help car insurance companies decide how much to charge on your car insurance, but knowing them can also keep you safer behind the wheel. These surprising car insurance statistics are worth your time to consider.

The Most Dangerous Times to Drive

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the most dangerous days to drive, causing half of all car accident fatalities. And 32 percent of fatalities happen in the late afternoon or evening (3 p.m. to 9 p.m.). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers some statistics which might explain that: The most drunken driving fatalities occur during those times as well. And those new to drinking are more likely to cause those crashes, with the most fatalities coming from drivers aged 21 to 24. Now you know why people under age 25 pay so much for car insurance.

Battle of the Sexes

There are statistics to support the apparent prejudice in rates that favor women. But women aren’t just a little safer than men… they’re a lot safer. Men are around three times more likely to be ticketed for reckless driving, DUI and seat belt violations (3.41 to 1, 3.09 to 1, and 3.08 to 1, respectively) than women are. Men are about 1.5 times as likely to speed, fail to yield, or blow through a stop sign. Maybe that explains why about 70 percent of accident fatalities are male and only 30 percent are female. It certainly provides a plausible justification as to why women pay less for car insurance.

Major Causes of Crashes

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) offers some interesting facts about the most common causes of crashes:

  • Speeding – A factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, speeding outweighs even impaired driving as a cause. Speeding is a major feature of aggressive driving, and aggressive driving is another major cause of crash fatalities.
  • Drunken Driving – Historically, speeding has been the key factor in fatal crashes, but drunken driving was up in 2012, accounting for 31 percent of all fatalities. And there’s a predictable overlap here: Statistics show that 42 percent of fatal drunken driving crashes involved speeding as well.
  • Red Lights – Among fatalities that involved running a red light, half of them caused the death of a passenger in another car or a pedestrian. In this scenario, drivers themselves often survive to regret their poor decisions.
  • Fatigue – About one in six fatal crashes are the result of drowsy driving. Surveys show 41 percent of drivers admit to nodding off behind the wheel at least once.
  • Distracted Driving – Roughly 10 percent of fatal crashes and 16 percent of all crashes stemmed from distractions like cell phone use, talking to passengers, and eating while driving, among others.
  • Cell Phone Use – Those aged 18 to 29 are most likely to use a cell phone while driving.
  • Deer Season – Collisions with deer average $3,414 in vehicle damages and occur most often between the months of September and December. This is a major factor in higher car insurance rates in rural areas with high deer populations.
  • Pedestrian Dangers – Hit-and-run accidents are a major concern for pedestrians. Sixty percent of hit-and-run fatalities are pedestrians. Crowded metropolitan areas heighten the risk to travelers on foot, resulting in higher car insurance premiums in the city.

Dangerous Vehicles

If you’re thinking about getting an SUV, motorcycle or large truck, think twice.

  • Rollovers are the most deadly form of automobile crashes, causing 35 percent of all accident-related fatalities. And SUVs are involved in 57 percent of those crashes.
  • Per mile driven, motorcycles are 30 times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash.
  • Large trucks are responsible for eight percent of all accident fatalities.

States with the Most Crash Deaths

Where you live can affect your rates, too. Drivers in some states are at higher risk for fatal crashes than others. For instance, the following states have more than 1,000 accident-related deaths per year. Of course, some states have larger populations which naturally contribute to a higher death total. Here are the states with the most driving fatalities:

  • Texas – 3,398
  • California – 2,857
  • Florida – 2,424
  • Pennsylvania – 1,310
  • North Carolina – 1,292
  • Georgia – 1,192
  • New York – 1,168
  • Ohio – 1,123
  • Tennessee – 1, 014

What We Can All Learn from Car Insurance Statistics

Familiarity with crash statistics gives you a little more insight about when and where extra caution is needed on the road, but the truth is that accidents can happen at any time and defensive driving should always be your default behavior. Erie Insurance offers a helpful profile of what defensive driving looks like:

  • Defensive drivers know stuff: They know how to keep their cars in safe running condition, hazards to watch for on the road and are familiar with the traffic laws that keep drivers safe. They know how to maneuver a car safely in snow or rain. They realize that beneath an overpass is the safest place to be if a severe storm hits.
  • They pay attention: Defensive drivers are alert to changes in traffic conditions, recognize when they are not at peak performance, and stay aware of what’s going on all around their vehicles.
  • Anticipation: Good drivers are waiting for something bad to happen. They look as far ahead in traffic as they can to spot dangers early. They wear seat belts because they assume other drivers are going to make dangerous driving mistakes.
  • They practice good judgment: They keep their emotions in check, resist risky maneuvers and practice self-control in the face of bad driving behavior from others.

Try to model these behaviors whenever you drive. They could save your life.