Data Shows the Roads May Be Getting More Dangerous

Frustrated young woman crouches next to wrecked car after a car accident.

Image source: Getty Images

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Motorists are engaging in high-risk behavior that could come at a terrible price.

Key points

  • Drivers are speeding more than in 2019.
  • More motorists are also distracted.
  • Speeding and distracted driving can lead to accidents, tickets, and increased insurance rates.

Safe driving is crucial for every motorist, as drivers have a responsibility to protect themselves and others. An auto accident can come at a terrible cost, not just because it raises car insurance premiums and destroys property, but also because people could be hurt -- or worse -- if a collision occurs.

Unfortunately, a new survey from Nationwide shows that not all motorists are being as careful as they should be behind the wheel. And, due to those risky driving trends, the roads are becoming more dangerous. Here's what drivers need to know about the new risks on the road.

According to Nationwide's recent report, there has been an "alarming" 23% increase in the number of trips during which vehicle speed exceeded 75 miles per hour since 2019. And, between March and August of 2021, there's been a 7.5% rise in the number of trips in which vehicle speed was above 90 miles per hour.

The same data also showed a whopping 70% of drivers were distracted behind the wheel on a daily basis. Plus, 12% of trips last summer involved distractions related to mobile phones. The survey also pointed out that younger drivers, especially, are prone to distracted driving -- even though they are most at risk of things going wrong because of their relative lack of driving experience.

The dangers of distraction

Speeding and distracted driving can significantly increase the risk of collisions as both behaviors can result in a motorist being slower to react if a car stops in front of them, a pedestrian walks in their path, or something else unexpected happens on the road. Unfortunately, such accidents might also be more likely to be serious if the driver is distracted. For example, the motorist may not even try to slam on the brakes, so the impact of a collision could be greater. Traveling at high speeds also increases the level of force in a crash, making the risk of injury higher.

Serious accidents can result in injury or death, not just for the distracted driver but also for innocent motorists on the road who happen to be caught up in the crash. An accident that causes lots of damage could also make auto insurance premiums much more expensive for the motorist who was to blame.

Even if drivers are lucky enough to avoid a collision due to dangerous driving behavior, they could also be faced with a ticket for speeding or distracted driving. The ticket can be expensive to pay, and will show up on the motorist's driving record and result in higher insurance premiums for years to come.

Motorists need to be aware of the serious consequences to their health and finances of both going too fast or driving while distracted. It's best for everyone to buck the trend of the increase in these dangerous driving habits -- and to follow best practices for safety on all trips behind the wheel.

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