2021 has been a costly year for many California motorists due to collisions, weather and distractions, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California While not all automobile insurance claims are avoidable, most collisions can be prevented. To help make drivers aware of the most common types of collisions and how to avoid them, the Auto Club is sharing the top automobile insurance claims among Southern California members in 2021.
1. Rear-end collisions/Fender Benders
A seemingly minor automobile crash in Southern California can cost an average of more than $8,500 in damage and increase the cost of insurance as well as result in serious injury or death. This type of crash made up 21% of all auto insurance claims the Auto Club processed in 2021. Often these types of crashes are the result of distracted driving. To avoid being involved in a rear-end collision or fender bender, the Auto Club recommends:
- Put down your phone and stay focused on the road. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk for a crash.
- Ask passengers for help or pull over if you need to read or write a text message.
- Activate Do Not Disturb on your smartphone while driving.
- The Auto Club encourages drivers to take the pledge to end distracted driving by visiting aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
2. Backing Up
Collisions caused by backing a vehicle up, on average, cost more than $2,300 per claim in 2021. This type of crash made up 12% of all auto insurance claims the Auto Club processed in 2021. Many of these incidents occur in parking lots or driveways. Drivers should be especially cautious when backing out of a driveway or navigating parking lots during the holidays. Drivers can follow these tips to reduce their risk of being involved in a back-up collision:
- Drive slowly and obey all traffic and directional signs.
- Avoid shortcuts such as cutting across parking lanes and rows of parking spots.
- Watch for pedestrians and other vehicles when slowly backing up and do not rely on backup cameras alone.
- Be extra alert for small children, pets, and parents pushing baby strollers in parking lots.
3. Single Vehicle Collisions
This category contributed to more than 11% of the Auto Club automobile insurance claims in 2021, with an average cost of more than $8,200. The higher average claims cost can be attributed in part to higher speeds associated with many single vehicle collisions and distracted driving. These crashes can be avoided by following these tips:
- Obey speed limits. Drivers tend to overestimate the time saved by speeding. You’d have to travel 100 miles to save roughly 5 minutes, moving at 80 mph instead of 75 mph. Speed kills and isn’t worth the cost. And recent AAA Foundation research shows that small speed increases were enough to raise a driver’s risk of severe injury or death.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
- Only drive sober. If you consume marijuana, alcohol, or use potentially impairing prescription medications, then don’t drive. And if you’re going to drive, then don’t consume these substances.
- Stay alert. Stop driving if you become sleepy because you could fall asleep at any time. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment, and vision, causing people who are very tired to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk.