When I first heard about DriveBetter I read all about it. Then I explained it to my kids. “Isn’t this cool? It tells you where you made mistakes in your driving. You can look at it after your drive and see how you did.” I got very little reaction.
My 15-year-old got her permit three months ago and despite summer vacation, we’ve had few opportunities to get her behind the wheel. When the DriveBetter hardware arrived I plugged it into my car and announced, “Ok, I think it’s set! Want to go for a drive and see how it works?”
The first words out of her mouth were, “Why? So you can track me?”
First of all, she’s 15. She has to ride in the car with me or another adult. She’s learning. She’s being “tracked” with or without DriveBetter.
Second of all, she’s glued to her phone. I have plenty of ways that I could track her if I wanted. And if I did want to track her I would not announce it to her.
So I explained it to her again and told her I would drive around with it for a while so we could “track” my driving and she could see what it was all about before I subjected her to it.
Turns out it’s painless. I forgot it was even in the car. I went from errand to errand for a couple days and then opened the app to see how I was doing. Whoa! I wondered if there was a way I could erase some of my driving before I showed my teen how my driving was graded. I tended to stay just above the speed limit frequently, and apparently, I made a few sudden stops. Each drive gives you a score between 1 and 5. I’m happy to report most of my drives were 5s, with a 1.6 tucked in there to remind me to take my time the next time I have to pick both kids up from school.
Then it rained. And rained. And rained. I thought I would never get her behind the wheel again.
Finally, this weekend, my girl got behind the wheel bright and early on a Saturday morning. She drove on familiar roads, crossed a highway, and then merged in light traffic on Southwest Parkway before reaching our destination. Her score: A wonderful 4.7.
It was fun looking at the trip together and figuring at where she might have lost the .3 points. At the end of that drive, she wasn’t weirded out by the app or the fact that it pointed out mistakes. She thought it was cool like I did.
We didn’t get another chance to get her behind the wheel all weekend, but we’re both looking forward to the next drive. Maybe this will help reinforce good driving habits for both of us, especially knowing that we’re BOTH going to be seeing the scores the next time I open the app.