Money Saving Tip: Stop Driving Like a Jerk


Do we ever think of the true cost of driving like a jerk?  Rarely do we save much if any time (simple math demonstrates going faster only creates a significant time-savings except during long trips), driving like a jerk generally increases rather than decreases personal stress, and driving like a madman or madwoman also increases the chances of driving mortality or of serious injury.  This post will explore the other ways that driving like a jerk can affect your bottom line.

1) Gas Prices – Driving like a jerk is certainly no way to increase your gas mileage.  Studies have shown that driving consistency is one of the biggest keys to improving overall gas mileage.  Driving like a jerk, however, is often the opposite of consistent driving.  Speeding up to ride someone’s tail, accelerating to shift lanes, and all the rest of the items in the jerk-driver’s toolkit will only end up in the jerk driver paying at the pump.  According to this article, “By anticipating stops and accelerating moderately, found that you can get up to 37% in gas savings.”

What the above Edmunds/Wise Bread fact really shows is something that I think most of us know almost preternaturally: that driving in an obnoxious manner hurts your gas mileage and costs you extra money at the pump.

My Unofficial Gas Mileage Test

It’s no true scientific test, but the last few weeks I have been experimenting with gas mileage and driving.  I have particularly been focusing on coasting and trying to maintain a consistent speed.  I pretty much only drive to work, making me a good guinee pig for such a project. Here were my unofficial results:

Week 1: (Full tank of gas and driving as I normally do): Empty tank of gas that I had to refill on my way to work Friday Morning.

Week 2: (Full tank of gas and driving as un-jerklike as I could): 1/4 of a tank left when I got home from work Friday night.

I repeated the test in weeks 3 and 4 and had similar results–except that I had almost 2/5 of a tank left in my “non-jerk” driving week.  (Perhaps because I was getting better at coasting and driving consistently?)

Conclusion: With as expensive as gas is these days, when a jerk cuts me off the first thing I now think is: “karma will get him/her at the pump, no need for a middle finger from me, because paying an extra $20.00 at the pump every day or two–That’s the ultimate middle finger.

2) Speeding/Traffic Citations – Few people truly grasp just how expensive and annoying municipal/traffic court can be.  For one thing, if you contest the ticket then you still have to pay (in most jurisdictions) for court costs.  These are often times more expensive than the  cost of the ticket itself.

Even more damaging, in many cases, is the fact that points will almost always significantly increase your car insurance expenses.  I know that when I get pulled over, the points are what worry me the most.  If you’re pulling the ultimate jerk driving move (driving drunk), or if you’re otherwise driving recklessly, then you could even face criminal (potentially serious criminal charges) from driving like a jerk.

3) Lawsuits/Damage to Car/Injuries – If you’re driving like a jerk then you’re also increasing your odds of getting into a potentially serious car accident.  Even if there is no injury involved, this will likely increase your insurance rates.  If you have inadequate insurance or decide to pay out of pocket, then that’s an additional upfront cost you wouldn’t otherwise have to deal with.  If you face expensive litigation stemming from an automobile accident, then perhaps significant and life altering expenses may be incurred.

4) Wear on Car – If you have something nice, then taking care of it is the best way to preserve it.  How much sooner does the jerk-driver’s tires wear out?  How much sooner does the jerk-drivers brakes go?  And on and on.


Driving like a jerk is just one added expense after another.

How else does driving like a jerk impact the expenses associated with driving?

Believe me, I’ve driven like a jerk in the past.  I’m sure at times I will drive like a jerk in the future.  But now that I know how expensive it is to be a jerk, I’m going to try and do my best to change my ways.

Besides….nobody likes a jerk.


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One Feedback on "Money Saving Tip: Stop Driving Like a Jerk"

Bret @ Hope to Prosper

I drove like this from age 19 – 21. I wased thousands of dollars on tickets and insurance. Then, I lost my license and had to walk for six months. It’s something I look back on now and think about what I could have done with all of the money I wasted.