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Are Accidents More Likely To Occur Closer To Home?


If you are going to be involved in an accident, chances are it will happen close to your home. Progressive Insurance polled 11,000 of its policyholders who experienced accidents in 2001. They found that 52% were involved in accidents within five miles from there home and 69% were involved in accidents within ten miles from their home. Only 17% of those polled experienced accidents beyond twenty miles from his or her home (Strillacci, 2002).

To some people, this is major news and would deter them from driving. I would hope this statistic would not do this to you. I anticipate this article will actually give you confidence in driving short, and long, distances from your home as well as show you the important role insurance plays in our lives.

As I already showed statistically, you are likely to get into an accident within 10 miles from your home. Before this scares you into never driving again take a moment to think about that statistic. It makes sense. For most people, their 'comfort zone' is close to home. People usually grocery shop, go to church and go to work within a few miles of their home. And when you compare that amount of people to the amount of drivers who travel for a living or drive long distances to see relatives or for vacation, you can see how that statistic came about.

Now, knowing that the statistic is skewed, the next question to answer is 'Will it make sense to drive longer distances to go grocery shopping, to go to work, to go to church, etc.?' In order to answer that question, you need to address the needs of time and money. You will also need to address the perils of driving shorter distances versus driving longer distances.

Before you extend your 'comfort zone' of driving, you have to analyze your costs of time and money. If you wish to drive further to meet your needs, you may have to wake up earlier, get home later, go to bed earlier, spend less time with your family, etc. And, if you wish to drive further to go grocery shopping, you will have to consider bringing a cooler to keep your cold food from spoiling until you get home. Other additional costs include adding mileage to your vehicle. This extra mileage lowers your vehicle's re-sale value. It increases the frequency of oil changes and tire changes. It also increases the chances of having other engine problems with your vehicle. Another cost to consider is the ever-increasing cost of gasoline.

Before you extend your normal driving 'zone,' you will also need to evaluate the perils you will face in driving short and longer distances.

Some of the dangers of driving within ten miles of your home include sharing the road with people with short attention spans. These people are running an errand and are only going four blocks from where they live. People may not be wearing safety belts. Again, many may have a false sense of security since they are not traveling a long distance from their home. Another concern that affects some is if it is really rainy out, flash flooding can become an issue.

When you drive longer distances however, you also face hazards. For example, you are sharing the road with people who may be sleep-deprived. You may be sharing the road with people who have become mesmerized from their long trip; and as a result they are in a hypnotic state that causes their senses to become dulled. And as you probably have seen many times you may also be sharing the road with someone going the speed of Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise.

It might not make sense to extend your 'comfort zone' due to time and money restraints. Even if you can extend your 'comfort zone', regardless of the costs of time and money, you still face perils and the possibility of being involved in an accident. What do you do?

Make sure your insured. Insurance is known as 'risk transference.' With insurance, you are transferring the risk of financial loss that comes with an accident to the insurance company. As to which insurance company to use and how much insurance to purchase, that is another article in itself. Just do the necessary research, and purchase as much insurance as you can afford. And, as a result of transferring your risk, you are left with the peace of mind knowing that regardless of the distance you are driving and the perils you are facing, you will be covered for the limits you chose to purchase.

So, the next time you are leaving to go four blocks to run an errand and someone reminds you of the statistic that accidents usually occur within ten miles of your home, smile for two reasons. First, knowing that you are going to face perils on the road regardless of the distance you are driving. And, second, knowing that with your insurance you are transferring the risk to the insurance company for the limits you chose to purchase.

Reference: Strillacci, L. (2004, November). Car Accidents Tend to Occur Close to Home. Retrieved December 22, 2003 from

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