How Your Safe Driving Skills
Can Increase Your Bottom Line

See also: Self-Awareness

Driving safely comes with many benefits.

For one, you’re protecting yourself from injury caused by severe accidents. For another, you protect your bottom line and save a lot of money.

In this article, we’ll look at the many defensive driving behaviors that keep money in your pocket.

View of busy highway from a car with driver and sat nav.

Maintaining a Safe Driving Record Will Reduce Penalty Points

In the United States, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses the demerit point system to determine if you’re a good or bad driver (with some exceptions). While the point system works differently in each state, drivers will receive more points if the driving offense is severe. Similar systems operate in other countries around the world.

Immediate suspensions will occur for some offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, hit-and-run driving, or failure to stop at a railway grade crossing. But, minor offenses, such as speeding or running a stop sign, can add up over time and also lead to suspension.

If you have a suspended license, you’ll have to pay a lot of money and wait to get it reinstated.

Your driving record will determine how much insurance companies will charge you and whether they should renew or cancel your policy. Driving safely will keep insurance costs down.

Getting Your License Reinstated Gives You Access to Better Jobs

A license can be suspended for multiple reasons, including driving recklessly, without insurance, or with a DU. (driving under the influence – of drugs or alcohol). However, the most common reason why people have their licenses suspended is because they can’t pay their fines or fees or refuse to appear in traffic court for any reason.

Getting your license reinstated, even if it’s a long process, is more than worth it, as it gives you access to better jobs, reduces auto insurance costs, and reduces other license-based fees.

Here are the steps to getting your license reinstated:

  • Take an approved class, such as a DUI program or defensive driving program.

  • Pay the reinstatement fee, which ranges from $50 to $1,200, depending on your state.

  • Get a financial responsibility certificate, like an SR-22 or FR-44, to show you meet the state’s auto liability requirements. Not all insurance companies offer this option.

The penalties for driving with a revoked license can be severe, so avoid getting behind the wheel while you wait. Another infraction could make it even harder to reinstate your license.

Auto Insurance Companies Will Reduce Your Monthly Payments

A safe driving record will give you access to reduced car insurance premiums, but so can shopping for inexpensive insurance from competing companies. Keep in mind that auto insurance companies don’t rely on the traditional point demerit system; they use their own.

For example, while they keep track of speeding tickets, DUIs, and other reckless driving offenses, they won’t attribute the same number of points to these infractions as the DMV would.

Besides a safe driving record and shopping for better insurance, you can also save money by:

  • Taking a defensive driving course

  • Improving your credit score (in some states)

  • Using a low mileage driving program

  • Driving a certified safer car, like a minivan

  • Installing a security system on your vehicle

Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, which is an add-on that covers you if an uninsured driver hits you or causes an accident and leaves the scene. You can also use it to cover you and your car if the other driver has an insurance policy that won’t cover the accident.

Slowing Down and Reducing Distractions Can Save You Money

According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), 90% of all road accidents are caused by human error. Practicing good driving habits can keep you safe and save you money.

While it’s true that driving faster can get you where you want to go sooner, it isn’t worth the added risk of collision. Neither is checking your phone, even if it’s just for a second. Here’s why:

  • A 15-mile trip takes 15 minutes if you’re going 60 mph and 13 minutes and 40 seconds if you’re going 65 mph. You save less than 2 minutes but increase your crash risk by 30%.

  • You’ll travel 52 meters in two seconds if you’re driving 60 mph. That’s the length of a hockey rink. You could easily crash or fail to stop in this small window of time.

  • A car accident of any kind will add demerit points to your license, causing you to pay more in insurance. You’ll also have to pay for repairs if you’re proven to be at fault.

Never perform aggressive driving maneuvers, such as driving over the speed limit, accelerating quickly, or idling at an intersection. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also expensive. For every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, you’re paying $0.30 more per gallon of gas, which adds up quickly.

Planning your route is another great idea if you want to reduce the chance of accidents and cut down on wasted mileage. When we’re lost or unfamiliar with an area, we tend to be more nervous and make more mistakes. Check for one-way streets or no right turns ahead of time.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance Save You Money Over Time

If you regularly maintain your car, you’re less likely to get into an accident or risk paying a large upfront cost should your vehicle break down. Maybe you don’t have the cash flow to replace your transmission now, but if you wait, you’ll cause further damage to your vehicle’s parts.

If you do happen to break down on the road, you’ll need to call a tow truck and possibly wait days or weeks for a repair. Not to mention, there’s a high chance your car won’t be usable.

But vehicle repair costs are the least of your worries. If the problem is severe enough, you could be gambling with your life. For example, driving with bald tires could increase your risk of sliding during icy conditions. If you can’t stop, you could wind up in a serious or fatal car accident.

To keep yourself safe while saving money, learn the basics of car maintenance, such as:

  • Oil Changes: Change every 5,000 to 10,000 miles to lubricate your engine.

  • Brake Pads: Change when needed (after you hear scratching or scraping when braking).

  • Air Filters: Change every 1 to 3 months to reduce gas mileage and horsepower.

  • Tires: Change when tires are smooth to have more traction and brake easier.

  • Tire Pressure: Keep tire pressure at the appropriate level to improve fuel efficiency.

  • Other: Check your fluids, engine components, and electronics when needed.

You can perform these maintenance tasks yourself without the help of a lube shop. You could save hundreds, maybe even thousands, per year if you maintain your own vehicle regularly.

Once you learn how safe driving can increase your bottom line, you might want to look at other ways to save money.

About the Author

Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.