When insurance companies determine your rates, they look at your driving behaviors. They want to figure out how much of a risk you are for getting in an accident and filing a claim. One common risky driving behavior is hard braking. Even the best of us can have a lead foot at times, but if you’re constantly braking and then speeding up abruptly, it can increase your chances of getting in an auto accident. Here’s what you need to know about hard braking and when it can affect your insurance rates.
Hard Braking and Insurance
There are many cases when hard braking won’t affect your insurance prices. After all, your insurance company isn’t in the car with you, so they can’t tell how you’re driving. However, this has changed recently with the advent of car insurance apps. Many insurance providers have released telematics apps or tracking devices that you can keep in your car, and they will track driving habits like hard braking, speeding, and using your phone while driving.
These apps will calculate a driving safety score for you based on how often you practice these dangerous driving behaviors. If your driving safety score is good, meaning that you don’t have these bad habits, then you can earn a discount on your car insurance. However, if you do consistently brake hard, look at your phone while driving, or practice any other bad habits that the app tracks, you won’t earn a discount. Some insurance companies will penalize you for driving poorly by increasing your rates, but not all of them will. Even small habits like the way you brake can affect the cost of your auto insurance.
Why Is Hard Braking Bad?
You may be wondering why hard braking is so dangerous. There are a number of reasons why you should avoid this behavior. If you consistently brake fast and hard, instead of gently slowing down as you approach a stop sign, it’s usually an indication that you aren’t paying attention or that you don’t have a good reaction time. If you are approaching a stoplight or stop sign at full speed and you get into a collision, your chances of hurting yourself or someone else are much higher.
Harsh braking is often indicative of aggressive driving behaviors. Aggressive drivers tend to weave in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling. They also will tailgate other drivers, drive much faster than the speed limit, and intentionally block other drivers. People who are hard brakers don’t necessarily have other aggressive driving behaviors, but there is usually a correlation between the two.
Additionally, hard braking is actually very bad for your car. It wears out your brake pads by causing them to overheat, meaning you’ll have to get them replaced much faster than a safer driver would. Hard braking also wastes fuel and sends more harmful gases into the environment. When you consistently are a hard braker, you’re hurting not only yourself but the world around you as well. All of these factors have incentivized insurance companies to monitor their customers’ driving habits.
What Should I Do to Avoid Insurance Rate Hikes?
If you’ve always had the bad habit of braking hard and fast, now is the perfect time to reassess your driving technique. It may take a bit of practice to unlearn this bad habit, so be patient with yourself. A good way to practice this is to pretend you don’t have a brake and learn how to maintain steady speeds and slow down gently just with the gas pedal, and then gently press on the brake to make sure you come to a safe stop. If you improve your driving habits enough, you’ll likely end up saving money on your insurance through their tracking app’s discount program.
You should also keep in mind that you don’t have to opt-in to your insurance company’s tracking programs. In fact, many people choose not to use them purely because they want more privacy from their insurance company. If you’re worried that your driving habits might negatively affect your premium, do your research before making a commitment. Find out what your insurance company can and can’t penalize you for before signing up.
If you have been penalized for harsh braking in the past, there are ways to get your rates down to a more affordable price. One of the best is to take a defensive driving class – many insurance companies will give you a discount if you take one of their approved options. If you feel confident that you won’t need to file a claim soon, you can also try adjusting your deductible. The higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly prices will be. When thinking about hard braking, don’t consider how it might affect your insurance rates – think about it maintaining safe driving habits.