In recent months, the US has seen a decline in gasoline prices. According to AAA, the national average price is $1.81, marking the lowest price since 2009. While low gas prices are usually a cause for rejoicing, it brings with it a dangerous downside. As gas prices decrease, automobile accidents increase.
With more affordable gas prices, more and more drivers take a seat behind the wheel. People are passing up their daily carpool commutes and public transportation routes in favor of taking to the road in their own vehicles. More vehicles result in traffic congestion, making car accidents increasingly likely.
Research shows a correlation between low gas prices and increased automobile fatalities.
Guangging Chi, a sociology professor at South Dakota State University, analyzed the relationship between gas prices and automobile fatalities from 1998 to 2007. The Minnesota study found that there is a correlation between low gas prices and automobile fatalities. Chi estimates, “A $2 drop in gasoline price can translate into about 9,000 road fatalities a year in the US.” He also stated it can take up to a year for drivers to adopt new driving habits in response to gas price changes.
Correlation is not causation.
Chi’s research did not find a direct causation, as there are numerous outside factors that could contribute to these automobile fatalities. For example, high gas prices often result in more conservative driving practices in an effort to save fuel, while low gas prices may have the reverse effect. A 2012 GM study found that people who do not practice conservative driving could pay as much as $100 a month more on fuel. Not surprisingly, aggressive driving styles increase the likelihood of a collision, resulting in more injuries and deaths. Instead, Chi’s study found a correlation, proving there is more traffic when gas prices are low, and busier roads result in more accidents.
You can prevent fatal auto accidents.
With so many drivers on the road, it is imperative to be aware of yourself and cautious of those you share the road with. Be a part of the solution, and check out these safe-driving tips to keep you and your loved ones protected, especially when gas prices are low. Everyone can benefit from safe driving practices.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, please contact us or call us at 800-676-5295. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you determine your options.