In addition to being highly recommended for a long, healthy life, safe driving also comes with numerous financial benefits. First of all, if you consider the fact that car accidents in the U.S. total roughly $164.2 billion, which equals $1,051 per person … well, just consider that fact.

But it’s not just accidents that are enormously expensive. Add in the cost of tickets, driving school, and insurance premium increases associated with less-than-stellar behavior behind the wheel, and it’s easy to see that safe driving pays.

Here are 7 easy tips for being a long-living, money-saving, discount-getting safe driver:

1. Drive slowly

Keep a healthy distance from the car in front of you. Wet surfaces require 2-to-10-times more stopping distance than dry ones. You can determine if you’re following too closely to other cars by using the 3-second rule. Like this: “One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand.” Easy, no?

2. Ditch the Jimmy Choos and drive in sneakers

Forget fashion! It’s far easier (and safer) to drive with the right footwear. Keep a pair of driving shoes in the car and change into them before you hit the road. And just think of all the shoes you can buy with the money you save by being a good driver.

3. Always keep a pair of shades handy

The sun can be blinding, especially during peak summer months, and can seriously impair your ability to see what’s happening around you. Most sunglasses will help, but for driving, your best bet is polarized lenses that cut glare while offering superb color rendition and depth perception.

4. Keep your cool

Though there are a lot of things that might raise your blood pressure — your job, your relationship, your mom (!!) — none of them are worth risking a road rage incident. Learn how to avoid the madness.

5. Wear your seat belt

Many states have checkpoints and special patrols (especially around the holidays) to help monitor and enforce seat belt usage. But regardless of whether or not you encounter a checkpoint, always buckle up: It could save your life.

6. Avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road

More than 90% of Americans own a cell phone, and 500,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving in 2008. Coincidence? Not likely.

7. Don’t drink and drive

In 2008, almost 1/3 of traffic fatalities in the U.S. were the result of crashes involving alcohol. Stay sober on the road, and don’t be a statistic.

By following these safe driving pointers, you could remain accident- and claim-free, and qualify for a significant discount on your car insurance.

Keep in mind, however, that auto insurance discounts vary from state to state, and this is just one of many that we offer. Be sure to check out your state’s discount page to see which are available in your neck of the woods.

And hey, drive safe!

Safe and smart

about Danny

As the senior manager of PR and communications, Danny brings nearly 13 years of experience to Esurance. Always one for a challenge, he enjoys the unique hurdles involved with bringing the human side of car insurance to life (or so he says).