Traffic tickets are big business. How big? Nearly 600 different jurisdictions around the United States get 10% or more of their budget from fines and fees, according to a recent report from Governing. For example, Seat Pleasant, Maryland, is a Washington D.C. suburb, and about 48% of the city’s revenue comes from fines. In Georgetown, Louisiana, 92% of the revenue in the 500-resident village comes from similar fines or fees!
Tickets are a pricey annoyance to every driver who receives one, but as you can probably guess, police officers aren’t going to stop handing them out. While there’s no foolproof way to avoid ever getting a traffic ticket, steering clear of common traffic violations is a good way to put the odds in your favor, hold onto your money, and keep yourself, your loved ones, and the roads safer.
Here’s a list of five common traffic violations, their dangers, and tips on how you can avoid them.
Driving faster than the posted speed limit is a violation of the law. Speed limits exist to save lives. In 2018 alone, 9,378 people died from speeding, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Dodge a ticket and save some lives: do not drive above posted speeds and give yourself time to reach your destination.
- Driving Under the Influence
More than 10,000 people die each year as the result of drunk driving, notes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Penalties for driving while impaired are correspondingly steep and may include fines that can reach thousands of dollars, the loss of a person’s driver’s license, canceled car insurance, and even jail time.
The CDC recommends several steps to limit the damage to people and property that impaired driving can cause. Steps to avoid drunk driving include:
- Before drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.
- Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
- If you have been drinking or using drugs, get a ride home, use a rideshare service, or call a taxi.
- Reckless Driving
Not using a signal to indicate a turn, sudden braking, and more—a lot of these offenses can be attributed to reckless driving. According to Driver Knowledge, approximately one in three accidents resulting in death is caused by reckless driving. Reckless driving can wreck you in more ways than one. Make sure to avoid car-to-car altercations (road rage), always wear your seatbelt, and report any dangerous driving you witness.
- Distracted Driving
Texting, talking on the phone, chatting with others in the car, looking for a great song on the radio: it all counts as distracted driving, as does anything else that takes your attention away from driving safely.
2,841 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2018 alone, reports the NHTSA. You’ve likely seen ads, signs, and even traffic stops designed to curb this growing danger. Make sure you don’t contribute to it. Remain focused on the road at all times — stay off your phone, don’t eat or drink behind the wheel, and let your passengers handle the music.
- Running a Red Light
In 2017, 939 people (a 10 year high) were killed due to a driver ignoring a red stoplight, according to a 2019 report from AAA. Following traffic signals is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to reduce accidents, which might be why “failure to stop” is one of the priciest tickets you can get. Help avoid one of these tickets by slowing down, not speeding up, when you approach a yellow light.
At Direct Auto Insurance, we know it can be hard to maintain a perfect driving or insurance record. No one is perfect! That’s we work hard to help all drivers find affordable car insurance, even if they’ve been dropped from their insurance in the past for having too many traffic violations. Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) or come into a Direct Auto location near you to learn more!