Do You Know Your Driving Score? {Introducing MercuryGO}

Curious about your driving score? As adults who haven’t taken Drivers Ed in quite a few years, it’s important that we remind ourselves, and our own teen drivers, that safe driving practices are important, no matter your age. It’s also incredibly easy to accrue bad habits, like looking at your phone, braking too suddenly, or speeding. We all do it. And we also know it’s not ideal especially with children in our car. 

I have two little ones, and as their primary caregiver during the day, they are in my car quite frequently. There are a zillion ways to get distracted on the road with kids, and unfortunately I found that out the hard way. A couple of years ago, we had stopped at a local fast food restaurant for an afterschool treat. We were literally less than 5 minutes from our home. I took my eyes off the road for “just one second” to hand one of my kids a straw for their drink. You can probably guess what happened next… fender bender with the car in front of me. Thankfully no one was hurt but my goodness, it certainly shook me up as a mom. I remember looking back at those sweet faces with tears running down their faces, as they asked “Momma, what happened? Why did we hit a car?” It was eye opening for sure and I am incredibly thankful it wasn’t worse. 

To help drivers get rid of bad driving habits of being distracted from keeping our 2 ton piece of steel in one piece, Mercury Insurance offers an app for its policy holders called MercuryGO, which is a usage-based insurance app to help improve driving skills and traffic safety through a driving score. Driving safety is a very important issue for Mercury and they continually look for ways to help educate drivers of all ages on the importance of being alert behind the wheel, while also equipping them with the skills to avoid potentially dangerous driving behaviors.

How The App Works

The MercuryGO app generates a driving skill score, which is calculated based on categories that are closely correlated with car crashes:: excessive speeding, hard braking, distracted driving, and road type. The app does this by measuring the number of “trips” you take, as well as the miles that you’ve driven to calculate your score.

Having the MercuryGO app helps give me important information and real time feedback about my driving. It also generates updates on the speed limit in every city I drive in. It can give me a clear view on the areas that I can improve on, in my case, distracted driving.

Why It Matters

According to NHTSA, reading just a single text message can take your attention away from driving for 5 seconds. At 55mph, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed!

We all take for granted how often we’re looking at our devices, whether it’s for directions somewhere, glancing at a text message, or worse. We’ve all seen {or maybe been those drivers}who stare at their phone while their car is actually in motion. Beyond the obvious safety concerns, these are also poor behaviors to model for our children in the back seat, looking at everything we’re doing and not understanding the repercussions of distracted driving on people’s safety.

The Importance of Scoring

While the use of a “score” is pretty common in our lives these days, applying it to my driving habits was a great way to “gamify” the process and gave me something actionable to work towards. It became a challenge each time I drove to avoid looking at my phone at a stoplight, remain cognizant of hard braking, or even better, manage my speed. I loved seeing my score climb higher after each use. Nerdy? Yes. Effective? Also yes. 

 

Apps like MercuryGO have shown the ability to help reduce distracted driving by 29%, speeding by 45% and hard braking by 17%.

Drivers can share their driving scores with family and friends while also tracking your performance against other drivers in their network. This can lead to some friendly competition as you measure your scores against your spouse, partner, or children who are beginning to drive.

It’s no secret that the use of scores, tokens, and other virtual incentives is a great way to reinforce positive behaviors at any age. Using the app actually became fun! Viewing it before and after I completed a trip to run errands, go into the office, or even a quick weekend getaway with our kids provided new opportunities to build upon the good driving habits I was trying to reinforce. 

It even gave me the opportunity for a teachable moment with our daughters about the need for driving safely and how we can develop bad habits, even if we’ve been driving for years and years.

Even More of an Upside

Another thing I really like about the app is that it doesn’t take too much battery as it works in the background. It doesn’t have the intrusive notifications that other navigation apps have in order to keep you safe while driving. The clean and bright interface is also a plus as it keeps my eyes cool while driving.

 

Aside from the obvious safety benefits, there are financial incentives to enroll in the program, like an automatic 5% discount on your insurance through Mercury. Teen drivers up to the age of 18, also get a 10% discount just for program participation. High scores can make you eligible to earn up to a 40% discount on your next renewal.

MercuryGO is only available for Mercury Insurance customers, so if you are considering a car insurance carrier switch, this may be the perfect time. Once you’ve signed up, you can either log in via your phone number or email address for security. There is also a family sharing feature available on the app. Unfortunately the app is limited to iOS 10 and up for iPhone (it is also available for most Android phones) and only in selected locations.

Using the app has made me a much safer driver, and more aware of some bad habits I’ve picked up over the years. Whether it’s a score, the accountability, or simply subtle reminders, the end result has been a change in my driving for the better.


Connect with Mercury Insurance and the GO App…

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