Thursday, February 23, 2012

How's My Driving?

Today I ran across an application you just might want to take out for a test drive, literally. It's free and you can find it in the application market on Android or the app store for your iPhone. It is called Driver Feedback and it will record acceleration, braking and corning to give you feedback on how your drive.

According to the NHTSA rapid acceleration, short stops and swerving dramatically increase the risk of having an accident. State Farm decided to develop an application to help people become safer drivers. By allowing people to have an independent, objective and private assessment of their driving style they will be able to recognize and improve their skills where needed. The application is quite clever using the internal capabilities of the smart phone and connecting with Google maps for position tracking.

None of the data recorded ever leaves the device. Nothing is shared with State Farm or any other insurance company or government agency. The data and results will have absolutely no impact your insurance rates.

It took minutes to download, configure and put the application to the test. My BMW 328i has a lovely pop-out cup holder which is perfect for keeping my HTC EVO or iPhone4s in the right position. After only a couple of short trips around the neighborhood, Driver Feedback had collected enough data to present me with some scores. Of course I won't share them with you here but suffice it to say from now on I may start braking a little more in advance and slow down a bit more when approaching a curve.

Drive Feedback has a few other neat features. It will permit you to automatically send a text message when you reach your destination to let someone know you arrived safe.

About the only thing missing was the ability to add more drivers and select the one to be monitored. Turns out, with a little help from  Jim Camoriano, State Farm Media Relations Specialist, I learned there is even a way to do this. Now I can slip this into the cup holder in my wife's car a couple of times when she is behind the wheel, and my daughter's car then next time she drives me to the store. Then I can run a comparison of the scores.

You can learn more about this by visiting the State Farm company web site, or just download the application and try it out. Safe travels!!

Captain Joe

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