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Automotive Finances & Money

No Insurance and Texting While Driving is Expensive [Real Life Story]

Just a quick little tip: Don’t use your cellphone while driving!

I’m guilty of dialing a number here or there, but I tend to just answer calls while driving, not place them. Now I have a Blackberry for work, and I’ll check it when I’m stopped at a light. When I first got it, I was really tempted to play with it while moving, but I got over that quickly after I saw how dangerous taking my eyes off the road for just a second really was.

The story: A friend of ours got married to a man (we’ll call him Stan) from overseas. She bought him an old, junky Honda Accord long before he even got his visa to come to the U.S. After about 6 months, he was able to move here and got a job working at a “big box store” in the area as a night stock person. I spoke to him a few times and found he had transmission problems with the car, but it got him to where he needed to go.

Fast forward to last week. I ran across Stan in our neighborhood. I found it odd he was driving his wife’s car as I was sure she didn’t like driving his old beater. He stepped out of the car gingerly, and I asked if he was hurt. He then goes on to tell me the following:

  • He traded in his old car just 3 days prior to our conversation
  • He paid about $5,000 for a newer Honda Accord…money which he spent 2 full months saving up to pay cash
  • He was texting while driving up a major county road. If you know DC, you know that any road considered “major” is always full of cars.
  • He veered into oncoming traffic and smashed into another car!
  • He only had put liability insurance on the car. He lost $5000 instantly.
  • The hospital and ambulance bills amounted to another $1500.

At least he was open and honest about his stupidity, but I wonder whether he was charged with any crime. This post isn’t just about the financial impact on him, his new wife and their daughter, but also to illustrate how a little bit of distracted driving could easily lead to a major disaster, and potentially even death. I’m really surprised that he hit another car in the opposite lane and he was out of the hospital in 3 days, but perhaps it wasn’t fully head-on.

What are your experiences with distracted driving? Are you guilty of doing it yourself? Do you do anything special to prevent distracted driving (like putting your iPhone in the trunk when you drive)?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Actually, I truly believed I was one of the “special” people who could handle talking on the phone while driving. Then in January, while visiting my family in Northern Virginia I was chatting away and ran a red light. Thank God nothing other than embarrassment happened, but I did learn that I can’t do that.

  • I’ve started turning off my phone when I get in the car. It’s just too tempting to answer when it’s on and I’ve decided just about everything can wait until I get where I’m going.

  • I have heard (wish I remember the exact source) that talking on the phone while driving is comparable dangerous to driving at the legal limit for alcohol. Additionally, texting while driving is supposed to be MUCH WORSE than driving at the legal limit.

    Again, I don’t remember the exact source of this, but I do recall these figures. The idea about talking was that our brains can’t focus on too many things at once so our peripheral vision gets narrowed while driving. Texting, obviously, means you probably aren’t even looking at the road.

    I don’t have personal experience to share on that, as I don’t do those things. Too dangerous. But those comparisons above are interesting and worth sharing, I thought.

    That guy in the example got very lucky, from both a financial point of view and a health point of view. He could have ended up spending a lot more money and been in a much worse physical condition after the texting accident. Those habits are very expensive and can be lethal.

  • Last year I was watching an episode of Mythbusters on the Discovery channel and they did a study to see which impaired your driving more, talking on the cell phone or being drunk. To my surprise, having a full blown conversation on the cell phone was much more distracting for the driver as compared to being drunk.

    In our state (Ohio) they just got some legislation passed to make it illegal to text while driving. I have personally witnessed (our vehicle sits up) 3 teenagers in the past few years drive across the center median as they were texting and trying to drive the car with their knees??…

  • You didn’t mention anyone in the other car being hurt. He’s very lucky that he didn’t kill someone.
    Seriously: How would you live with yourself if your need to send a short, misspelled message RIGHT THAT MINUTE caused someone else’s serious injury or death?
    I just visited my daughter and son-in-law in Phoenix and the ad campaign there was, “Don’t be a text-crash dummy.”
    Please, people, pull over if you have to send a message!

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