How often do the safest drivers have accidents?

Last Updated on June 4, 2020

Tal from New York City today asked us: “Sometimes accidents are unavoidable.  Safe drivers still have car accidents, right?”


Accidents can happen to anyone at any time. No matter how safe you try to be on the road, some accidents are unavoidable. If you have yet to file an insurance claim for a car accident, consider yourself lucky. Car insurance industry estimates predict that the average American is likely to file a collision claim every 17.9 years. In fact, the average American driver has a 30% chance of being involved in a serious car accident in his or her lifetime.

Although we all like to think we are better than the average driver, odds are, we are not. According to these industry estimates, if you receive your driver’s license at age 18, chances are you will get into a car accident by age 36. Over the course of a lifetime, experts predict the average driver to have a total of three or four automobile accidents.

Fortunately, the majority of these accidents are minor, and it’s rare that an accident is deadly. Of the 10 million car accidents in the United States each year, only about 0.3% involve fatalities. That’s not to say that these accidents aren’t costly, however. In 2010, the average claim for injuries in car accidents topped $23,000.

Which Drivers Are “The Safest”?

There’s not one demographic of the population dubbed “safest drivers” but there are things you can do to make sure you’re not involved in an accident. One of the biggest correlations between drivers and their actions on the road is safe drivers have accidents

Teenagers are the riskiest group of drivers. More often, they are involved in car accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 16-19. Due to inexperience, many young drivers over-correct during an accident, leading to more serious damage. States have been working to gradually introduce teens to driving with graduated driver’s licenses. This is a tiered procedure that requires a teen to pass several steps before moving onto the next level of licensing. This method has helped cut accident rates in states that enforce the laws.

Another age group that tends to receive high insurance premiums is the elderly. Over your lifetime, your insurance rates will begin high, lower, and level off as you age and become more experienced and as you enter your golden years, there may be a premium increase. Aging can affect driving skills. Whether it’s the depreciation of sight or motor skills, there are ways to combat the effects of aging on driving. If you notice that nighttime is particularly difficult, try to complete errands during the day.

The most important step to staying safe is to realize your capacity for driving. Even adults with years of experience admit to driving while distracted. Cell phones, children, and the radio can all take your attention off the road. It’s hard to place a statistic on safe drivers because they go unnoticed. Avoid becoming a statistic yourself and commit to safe driving principles.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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