Could Cheaper Gas Mean More Car Accidents in Austin?
The Economics of Car Accidents in Austin
Texans everywhere rejoiced at the lower gas prices of the past few months. Indeed, we took to the roads with renewed vim and vigor, secure in the thought that if we have to infuriatingly inch forward on I-35, at least we can afford the therapy bills. Unfortunately, this downward trend is forcing another trend upward—car accidents in Austin. There is a negative correlation between these two trends because as gas prices lower, drivers fill the roads.
According to the Huffington Post’s report “Lower Gas Prices Mean More Deaths on the Road,” a professor from South Dakota State University calculated that “a $2 drop in gasoline price can translate into about 9,000 road fatalities in the U.S.” That number seems shockingly high—could economics really influence our lives so dramatically?
However, as Time magazine’s article “How Cheap Gas Can Be Deadly” notes, this link is not direct. There are many other factors, including time, weather, and car design and safety features, that influence these statistics. Still, the trend shows that cheaper gasoline leads to more drivers, which in turn leads to overcrowded roads.
And it is not just a numbers game. Gasoline prices, notes Time, can actually change drivers’ behavior behind the wheel. When drivers are trying to conserve money in the form of gasoline, they drive slowly, accelerate cautiously, and keep a steady speed with cruise control. These behaviors are more fuel friendly…and as an added bonus, safer.
Conversely, drivers who charge onto the roads at full speed and take off after the green light actually spend close to $100 more per month at the pump.
What can you do about this?
While you can’t control the behavior and habits of other drivers, you can take some steps to keep yourself and your family safe.
First of all, evaluate how much driving you really need to do versus what you could consolidate or skip. For instance, plan out your errands in advance. Carpool, bike, or ride the bus to work. Avoid areas with the highest traffic and try to plan your trips when traffic isn’t as crazy. As an added side bonus, you’ll be less stressed out and, in all likelihood, in a better mood with less time spent behind the wheel.
If cutting down driving down is not an option, you can adopt the behavior of a budget-conscious drive. Accelerate slowly, drive with respect to other drivers, anticipate those around you, and maintain a steady speed. If you want to convince others to do this as well, mention the money they’ll save. Studies show that if you want others to be safer, scaring them with the very real threat to their life doesn’t work. What does work is telling them that they will save money.
If all else fails and you are injured in a car accident, you can recover medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment, and other related expenses with the help of a good car accident lawyer. The Loewy Law Firm, headed by attorney Adam Loewy, will review your case today and help you get the best possible settlement as soon as possible.