Want to keep your car insurance premium at levels not requiring a second mortgage? Here are the top 10 ways to dodge getting on first name terms with your insurance broker’s claims department staff…
1) Choose your in-car music carefully
Switching on the radio and rocking out to music such as hip–hop and heavy metal has serious implications for your driving. Research from Confused.com showed drivers with a penchant for these genres were more aggressive and faster. It was also revealed that classical music was far from calming and induced an erratic driving style. Boffins found that drivers match the tempo of music to their driving – so fast tracks mean smoking rubber and more chance of a crunch.
Top 10 dangerous driving songs
|1. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas|
2. Dead on Arrival – Fall Out Boy
3. Paper Planes – M.I.A
4. Walkie Talkie Man – Steriogram
5. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
|6. How You Remind Me – Nickelback|
7. Hit the Road, Jack – Ray Charles
8. Get Rhythm – Johnny Cash
9. Heartless – Kanye West
10. Young, Wild and Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
Don’t watch this and drive… Black Eyed Peas – Hey Mama
How to beat the danger: The Boffins also found out that songs with a tempo matching the beat of a human heart make up the safest automotive playlist. This equates to around 60–80bpm; suggesting songs such as The Scientist by Coldplay or Come Away With Me by Norah Jones will help keep you sensible. Create your drive–safe playlist at the BPM database here
2) Don’t sneeze and drive
Suffering from a common cold? Grab your hanky and take the bus instead. Research carried out at the University of Leeds Institute for Transport Studies found drivers with snot–packed nostrils were less able to detect the possibility of a collision and respond quickly to unexpected events. The danger doesn’t stop, there, with the brain–heavy bods at Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre dicsovering that a heavy cold can slash concentration levels by up to 50% – the equivalent of downing four large whiskies. We’d advise leaving your car in the garage, sitting back, drinking those four large whiskies, then not bothering to wake up until the snot’s gone.
Sneeze facts… Most will have heard the one about travelling 300ft blind while sneezing on a motorway, but while this figure is pure myth you will cover around 50ft with eyes shut as you give it the big atishooooo at 70mph. This is certainly enough to cause a hefty dent in reaction times and has resulted in advice that afflicted drivers should leave an extra four car lengths space to the vehicle in front on motorways.
Cold medications… Sorry, but the common cold hasn’t finished its mission to destroy your no–claims discount. Taking over–the–counter cold remedies can leave you drowsy due to active ingredients such as anti–histamines – used to ease runny noses and sneezing – and pain–killing codeine, which can slow reaction times and make eyesight blurry. If affected, it’s not just dangerous to drive, but cops may decide you’re ‘driving whilst unfit through drugs or alcohol’ – leading to a hefty disqualification.
How to beat the danger: Get plenty of sleep and take medication designed to be non–drowsy. Some research suggests caffeine is a useful way to fight the effects of a cold while behind the wheel, so necking a double espresso might help. Otherwise, take a long look at your job and if there’s not just the slightest possibility that western civilisation will crumble to dust if you take a duvet day – then why not do just that?
3) Don’t skip the ‘comfort break’
Feeling the need to wee? Don’t put it off or you might just end up with a speeding ticket or dented fender – not to mention soggy smalls. Anyone who suffers from ‘urge incontinence’ – a common condition where sufferers experience the sudden urge to pass urine – could end up speeding to get to the nearest toilet. It’s not just your bumper or dignity that’s at risk, either; speeding at 35mph in a 30mph zone makes you 4.5 times more likely to fatally injure a pedestrian.
How to beat the danger: If you think you’re suffering from urge incontinence, contact your doc and get some medication and tips on exercises to control it. Additionally, for anyone who wants to avoid the risk of racing to the nearest WC in the case of an emergency for them or their kids, it’s time to follow our two–part guide to never letting your bowels or bladder put your licence at risk…
Meet Toilet Finder: So, you’ve got a 10–minute heads–up from your bowel monitor, now it’s time to crank up the Toilet Finder app to locate a public toilet close enough to ensure you’ve pee’d before the need to speed kicks in. It’s based on a database of more than 100,000 public toilets worldwide and uses your phone’s GPS location to hunt down the nearest ‘watering hole’. It’ll reveal if they’re free, open and have disabled access. Additionally, users can add their own fave conveniences if they’ve not already made it to the database.
Find it here for: iPhone or Android
Alternatively… anyone who’s not convinced by the benefits of the digital world could avoid getting a toilet–related speeding ticket by scouring the back pages of Sunday supplement magazines and grabbing themselves the notorious travel urinal with feminine adaptor thrown in.
Speeding peer caught short
Conservative peer Lord Trefgarne told cops he was in a hurry because he ‘urgently needed the toilet’ after being nabbed speeding on his way to the House of Lords, a court heard…
Read the full story here
4) Vary your route
Taking the same drive on a daily basis isn’t a top tip when it comes to swerving a trip to the ‘bodyshop’… for you or your motor! Research reveals taking a familiar journey makes us far more likely to be involved in an accident than when tackling a less known drive. The same research reveals our brain stays more engaged on a new route – helping slash reaction times and making it more likely we’ll be able to dodge an accident. A study using special glasses to analyse the awareness of experienced drivers found their field of vision (and awareness of what’s going on around them) was hugely less active and much narrower on familiar routes compared with newer journeys. This made them less able to detect developing problems, other road users and pedestrians.
How to beat the danger: With most accidents occurring between one and five miles from home, it’s clear that familiarity does breed contempt. Try adding a little spice to your route home and cut the risk to both bodywork and soul by heading to Google maps, plotting your route in the direction section – but then dragging the blue dot to create new, interesting and safer routes home. It’s a great way to make your commute more interesting and keep your mind engaged. Give it a go – it can even become a little addictive. Make your new route here
5) Take the bus on Weds, Thurs and Fri
Don’t just save your bus pass for Friday the 13th, research reveals driving on any Friday leaves you most likely to be involved in an accident. Studies from insurers show claims rocket as the week progresses with Wednesday and Thursday not far behind. It’s suggested that drivers’ concentration drops as the week wears on. On the plus side, Tuesday is the safest day, with Monday following on behind.
How to beat the danger: Why not occasionally swap your car–bound slog to the office or school run for an alternative mode of transport? From bus and train to walking and cycling, there are plenty of options available. Walkers and cyclists can also download apps that’ll pick the safest routes – utilising footpaths and old railway lines etc. Kids will also love the bus or train for a Friday school–run ‘treat’.
6) Look away from the billboard
Back in 1994 billboards featuring the iconic ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra advert had to be removed from the roadside after being blamed for a run of automotive boobs in their shadows. A study has shown roadside billboards touting themes of sex, money or fame are likely to make a driver speed up… and it’s not just men who can succumb to the distraction of a 30ft pin–up in pants giving them extremely large ‘come on’ eyes. Don’t think it’s only the racy side of life that can cause drivers to fall off the road; negative subjects caused motorists to slow down, but also become more likely to wander out of their lane.
How to beat the danger: Obviously, being a responsible driver and ignoring Amazonian–type models in their undies is the obvious answer, but also somewhat at odds with human nature. Try to avoid routes with billboards – the UK sites that attract most drivers’ eyes in the UK are at London’s Euston Underpass (100k views a day) and Chiswick Towers by the M4 motorway (2.3m a month). Avoid these locations or prepared to be rear–ended by a flustered looking driver.
7) Blame it on your mum and dad
Insurance companies usually leave star signs to the likes of Mystic Meg, but research by one revealed there could be an argument for taking drivers’ Zodiac sign into account when quoting. Luckily, insurance companies won’t be using this information to punish you when creating your quote… but it’s certainly worth knowing. Some may consider this a bad case of mumbo jumbo, but the facts are plain to see and provide a genuine baraometer. Here’s how the stars read for your chances of making a claim…
Star signs and personality traits of drivers involved in accidents and how many claims made…
|Scorpio Nov.1-Nov. 28 Passionate, resourceful 26,833|
Cancer July 21-Aug. 9 Compassion, sensitivity 101,539
Aquarius Feb.16-March 11 Progressive, independent 106,878
Libra Oct.31-Nov. 22 Cooperative, gracious 110,592
Aries April 17-May 13 Impatience, determination 112,402
Capricorn Jan.18-Feb. 15 Responsible, disciplined 128,005
|Gemini June 20-July 20 Short attention span, nervous 136,904|
Sagittarius Dec.18-Jan.17 Impatient, idealistic 154,477
Pisces March 12-April 16 Fearful, overly trusting 172,030
Taurus May 14-June 19 Uncompromising, possessive 177,503
Leo Aug.10-Sept. 15 Arrogance, inflexibility 179,657
Virgo Sept.16-Oct. 30 Worry, shyness 211,650
Source from All State insurance claims in 2010
How to beat the danger: Bit of a tough ask to reassign your birth date, so you might be better off taking the scientific approach of not loking at the stars and keeping your eyes on the road.
8) Don’t move to Smethwick
Banned drivers are usually dangerous drivers, so dodging towns that breed the most licence–losers is the basis of a sound plan for avoiding automotive tears. Smethwick in the West Midlands should top your no–go list, with its dubious honour of being the UK’s top town for most banned drivers. In fact, taking a diversion round the West Midlands might save your bumper some grief, with the number two spot for automotive rule dodgers going to West Bromwich. However, it’s just as bad in London, with the East London borough of Barking sharing that second place.
Top 10 towns with most banned drivers…
Here are the towns you might want to set your sat–nav to avoid…
1) Smethwick, West Midlands (160 of 20,194 drivers disqualified – 0.77 per cent)
2=) West Bromwich, West Midlands (191 of 26,101 drivers disqualified – 0.73 per cent)
2=) Barking, London (164 of 22,591 drivers disqualified – 0.73 per cent)
4 Nelson, Lancashire (162 of 23,942 drivers disqualified – 0.68 per cent)
5 Bradford, West Yorkshire (1084 of 166,171 drivers disqualified – 0.65 per cent)
6 Tipton, West Midlands (131 of 20,736 drivers disqualified – 0.63 per cent)
7 Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan (163 of 26,153 drivers disqualified – 0.62 per cent)
8=) Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (131 of 21,872 drivers disqualified – 0.60 per cent)
8=) Wishaw, Lanarkshire (130 of 21,769 drivers disqualified – 0.60 per cent)
8=) Dagenham, London (308 of 51,576 drivers disqualified – 0.60 per cent)
Battle of the nations… Within the UK, Welsh drivers are the worst in terms of disqualification with 0.39%, ahead of Scotland on 0.33% followed by England at 0.29%.
How to beat the danger: If you live in one of these areas you could considering moving to Harpenden in Herts, where you’ll be rubbing shoulders – but not bumpers – with the UK’s most law–abiding drivers. This was followed by Rayleigh in Essex. Search for your new safe home in Harpenden here
9) Don’t plan a career as a health professional
The doctor won’t see you now… he’s more likely to be busy swapping insurance details at the roadside. Research shows GPs made the highest proportion of insurance claims in 2014 – holding on to their number one spot from 2013. With a claim rate of 28% that’s double the national average – suggesting the professional body-pokers should take a little more care of their own bodywork. In fact, the medical profession needs to shape up when it comes to driving, with dentists, surgeons and hospital consultants all taking up space in the table of shame. Your local car dealer obviously treasures his shiny bits, with that profession coming out as least likely to make a claim.
Top 10 professions most likely to be involved in a crash
|1 General Practitioner (27.8%)|
2 Hospital Consultant (26.9%)
3 Drug Addiction Counsellor (25.6%)
4 Health Visitor (24.9%)
5 Probation Officer (24.4%)
|6 Environmental Health Officer (23.6%)|
7 Community Nurse (23.3%)
8 Speech Therapist (23.2%)
9 Dental Surgeon (22.9%)
10 Clinical Psychologist (22.6%)
How to beat the danger: The obvious solution would be to avoid becoming a highly paid GP, consultant or surgeon… However, if you would prefer to be obscenely wealthy and spend time blasting around your local High Street in an obscenely priced supercar – while not suffering a costly ding in the process – being a professional footballer is rated as one of the best professions for providing safe drivers.
10) Mind that road
The UK’s most dangerous roads have been revealed. If you value your no–claims bonus – not to mention your life – it might be prudent to take a diversion around the 12–mile stretch of the A285 between Chichester and Petworth in West Sussex – where there’s been a 16% rise in serious and fatal accidents from 2007–2012.
Here’s the top five dangerous roads in Britain…
1. The A285 from Chichester to Petworth (West Sussex)
2. The A809 from the A811 into Glasgow (Scotland)
3. The A18 Laceby to Ludborough (Lincolnshire)
4. The A61 between Wakefield and the M1 (Yorkshire)
5. The A937 towards Montrose, Angus (Scotland)
How to beat the danger: Simple, take a look at the list above and plan your journey using an alternative route. You only have to take a look the following video showing a speeded up drive along Britain’s most dangerous road if you need convincing.