Most Car Accidents Occur Near Your Home, But Why?
We have all heard the age-old saying that we are more likely to get into a car accident near our home, but why is that? We would assume that unfamiliar roads would be the most likely environment for a car accident and that we would be more attentive in our own neighborhoods. Well, we have done a deep dive into the statistics behind this old saying to determine if it still holds up.
The Original Study
That initial observation actually came from a Progressive Insurance survey done in 2001, which involved interviewing over 11,000 drivers and asking where they had experienced a car accident. The key results of the research revealed that 52% of drivers were involved in crashes within five minutes of their home, while 77% experienced accidents within 15 miles of their home.
Now, it is important to note that this is a single study of a sample size of roughly 11,000, meaning that it is not the most reliable. Following this initial study, the media ran rampant with the findings and keyed in on one identifiable headline: you are more likely to be involved in an accident near your home—or, more accurately, 52%, just over half, of accidents are by your home.
Accuracy aside, this study did not only produce an everyday phrase, but it also demonstrates how insurance companies calculate your rates, as noted by the Autoweek article. When these companies take into account a customer’s zip code, they research the local accident rates, cost of auto repairs, and cost of medical treatment. Depending on the local costs of an accident, your insurance company may increase your rates to offset the costs of insuring you.
But is this fair, especially if it is based on only one study? Did Progressive get it right with the initial report?
Yes, at least according to recent studies. Research from around the world, including the United States and New Zealand, have shown that car accidents are more likely to occur near a driver’s home, but with some clarifications.
First, the close-to-home effect is more common among older drivers, while younger or new drivers are less likely to experience the effect, according to a New Zealand study by Safety Science. This is likely due to complacency, as fresh drivers are going to be more aware of their surroundings and local traffic laws. In contrast, older drivers may become laxer during their daily commute. In addition, accidents near a driver’s home were more likely to involve alcohol or distracted driving but were less likely to involve fatigue.
Second, there is a connection between the close-to-home effect and seatbelts. In an analysis of seatbelt behavior and best practices by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the organization reiterated that car accidents are more likely to occur within 25 miles of a residence. Like drunk driving accidents, some drivers may assume that they can safely operate a vehicle without a seatbelt on because they believe they are only going a short distance. However, it doesn’t matter if you are only moving your car on street cleaning day or going to the grocery store: a car accident can occur, and you are definitely safer while wearing a seatbelt.
Another important factor to consider is that roughly 68% of all miles driven in the United States are on rural roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is no surprise to anyone living in Wyoming. Because rural roads are more difficult to navigate and repair, even experienced drivers can be involved in an accident, adding to the close-to-home effect.
Are These Accidents Avoidable?
Yes, to some extent. You only have control over your own actions, so you can limit your chances of causing a serious accident. That means no driving while under the influence, keeping your phone out of reach when driving, avoiding driving while drowsy, and obeying all local traffic laws.
However, you cannot stop other people from acting negligently. But that’s where Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. comes in. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, our Gillette car accident attorneys can advocate for proper compensation in an auto accident claim, whether you were in an accident five minutes from your home or driving down the I-90. Call us at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free initial consultation. We will not accept a single cent unless we win your case.
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