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Owning a car is expensive. Aside from financing the vehicle itself, drivers also pay for maintenance, gas, insurance and the occasional repair. Because a vehicle is often the next biggest expense after housing, it makes sense that drivers don’t want to spend more than necessary.

While many of these costs are inevitable, there is still a margin of savings for Washington residents who make safety a priority. Simple behaviors can make a big difference for parents, recent graduates, those who are in debt or just those who can find a better use for their hard-earned income.

How much could you save?

Think about the market value of your vehicle. If a crash totaled it, the amount that an insurance company offers might have to cover the cost of a new vehicle. In many cases, this compensation is far less than the vehicle’s value. You might also face high medical bills if you sustained injuries.

If another party is at fault for the crash, you would have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the damages. However, if the crash is solely a result of your risky driving, you might not have this option.

On the flip side, drivers can save money proactively through their insurance policy. Many companies offer safe driver discounts to promote good decisions while saving money in the process. This is a win-win for both drivers and their insurance companies. To learn how to qualify for these discounts, speak to your provider. Some companies examine your driving record while others may install a driving measurement device to calculate your rate.

While your own health is a great reason to drive defensively, it can be hard to imagine what it would be like to suffer a serious crash. Thinking in terms of money can give many drivers tangible motivation to make safe choices.