Influencing driver behavior is a key ingredient to improving road safety. Technology is the best way to collect detailed information about individual drivers, such as actual (vs self-reported) driving abilities and to monitor and interpret those driving behaviors.
Through data (or insights) collection technology can bridge the gap and better characterize risky driving behavior, such as distracted driving, which is the leading cause of death among teens in the United States. Essentially, technology can for the first time paint the picture of what’s really going on behind the wheel!
The 4 signals of bad driving habits are:
- Distraction – Texting and messaging while driving is one of the leading causes of distracted driving in the U.S. – and that’s across all ages, not just teens, though teens are the most at risk driving demographic (3 times more likely to be in a fatal car crash due to distracted driving).
- Braking – Frequently applied brakes is a leading indicator that a driver is distracted behind the wheel. Drivers that ignore safe following distances increase the risk of nose-to-tail crashes, a common type of accident among city drivers. Rather than relying on last-minute braking to prevent a collision, you should be focusing on the road ahead and anticipating changing conditions or actions by other drivers.
- Speeding – In simple terms speeding is defined as the proportion of time spent driving above the local speed limit. It’s common knowledge that speeding increases a driver’s risk of collision, injury and even death, because there is less time and distance available to respond. You have less control at higher speeds if combined with any form of distraction.
- Acceleration – A measure of aggressive driving behavior. Are you familiar with the the phrase “lead foot”? Harsh acceleration is a proven indicator of unsafe driving.
These four characteristics of driving performance are all within a driver’s control – it’s behavior that can be changed. Notwithstanding some circumstantial outliers, like an opossum crossing the road, each of these (bad) habits is able to be improved over time.
The first key is to bring awareness to your driving behavior, gain insight into when you are driving poorly and then make a conscious effort to improve.
Our safe driving app, TrueMotion Family, does exactly that. We have built technology through which we measure and score drivers – all in an effort to make roads safer. The smartphone app measures your driving based on Distraction, Braking, Speeding and Acceleration. We grade each drive from 0 to 100, where low scores indicate high risk or unsafe driving.
Saving your wallet – Experts advise that frequent hard acceleration and braking is costing you an extra three miles per gallon. Furthermore, excessive hard braking can cause vehicle brakes to overheat, making them less effective. It can also trigger a vehicle’s ABS unnecessarily, putting extra stress on the car’s systems.
Did you know: Insurance companies are able to base pricing on the above indicators as well, which means that the better you drive the lower your bill could be. Some insurance companies reward drivers by discounting premiums by as much as 30%.
Saving the planet – Harsh driving has been proven to emit more harmful gases into the atmosphere. So when you ease off the pedal you can help the planet breathe easier too.