August 14, 2010

How Wearing Earphones While Driving Can Affect Your Auto Insurance

When searching for auto insurance quotes, there are multiple factors that can affect the cost of the premiums. Age, gender, location, and driving record all easily come to mind. But there are other small habits that might not be noticed which can lead to a higher premium, including the increasingly common practice of wearing earphones while driving. Auto insurance and earphones don't mix.

Driving with a full set of earphones is illegal in most states, because it impairs the ability of the driver to hear emergency vehicles. In addition, it affects the ability of the driver to hear other vehicles that do not have sirens. While driving, all available senses should be used to recognize other drivers. Distractions such as cell phones and headphones take part or all of a driver's hearing away from the surrounding traffic, and increase the likelihood of an accident. And as a result of an accident, auto insurance rates increase.

Even if the headphones are not loud enough to cover the sound of surrounding traffic, there is still significant risk of an accident. The cord of the headphones could get tangled around the hands of the driver, and might impair the driver's steering ability, especially through a sharp turn. There is also the risk of the headphones falling off the driver's head while driving, resulting in a distraction for the driver who is simultaneously navigating the roads and searching for the lost earphones. Both are potential accident risks, and as a result, searching for auto insurance quotes will be a more expensive task. The more accidents and traffic violations on a driving record, the higher the premiums will be.

As more legislation has been passed banning the use of cell phones while driving, it has become increasingly common to see drivers using earphones connected to their cell phones. Although wearing a headset in only one ear is permissible and encouraged over the use of cell phones, it still poses a risk for distraction. Whether the headset is being used for phone conversation or for listening to music, it takes some of the driver's attention, and whenever the driver is occupied in something other than focusing on the vehicle's surroundings, the risk of an accident increases. And where there are accidents, there are higher auto insurance rates.

One of the main causes for higher insurance premiums is a driver's negative history on the road. Wearing earphones can increase a driver's likelihood of an accident, and so also increases the likelihood of a higher insurance quote. Auto insurance, earphones, and driving are all connected. Keep the headphones off, and pull over to answer the phone.