NORTHEAST, Miss. (WCBI) – This time of year brings an influx of car crashes and motor vehicle accidents.
Between the time change, icy roads, and deer crossing the highway, area insurance agencies are advising all drivers to be extra cautious.
Even with bad weather, animal crossings, and poor lighting, distracted driving is still one of the top causes of automobile accidents.
Robert Cooper is the general manager for Bob’s Paint and Auto Body in Columbus.
He’s worked there for six years, and he said business picks up every winter.
“During the transition from Fall to winter is when we see most of our accidents, it picks up dramatically, weather conditions are a lot worse, more people out holiday shopping, there’s less daylight with this time of year, so it adds up to a lot more accidents taking place,” said Cooper.
When a car accident occurs, Cooper’s business is often of the first notified.
“We’re one of the first people to see the vehicle damaged, so it’s brought and then communicated with the insurance company, and we assess the damage and put together a repair plan,” said Cooper.
Sometimes, those calls can be directed to Paul Halfacre, an Alfa Insurance Agent in Louisville.
“We do what we can to secure the proper information on the front end, turn it over to our claims department, which is one of the greatest I’ve ever witnessed work before. We just try to get all the information and get out of the way, let them handle it,” said Halfacre.
Unfortunately, not every vehicle will be repaired.
“I’d say about ten percent are ‘totals’ that come into our shop,” said Cooper.
Despite that, Halfacre said his primary goals are to make sure people are ok, and to get folks back on the road– usually in a rental car.
“We try to put it on everybody, then if somebody doesn’t want it, they might make us take it off. We try to get people riding so they can, again, go back to work and resume their workday. Get the kids to school or whatever it is they got to do,” said Halfacre.
Both men deal with numerous accidents a month, and both agree that a large portion of those accidents is caused by distracted drivers.
“Both eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel, pay attention to the business of driving. Too many people just don’t realize, it’s become a passive response or a passive occupation. It’s very active. We’ve got to be really on the business of driving,” said Halfacre.
“Pay attention to the news and weather that’s coming into play. Try to avoid high traffic times, such as Thursdays and Fridays past five o’clock,” said Cooper.
According to a study by MDOT, distracted driving can increase your risk of a crash by 23%.
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