Your car is watching you–and that might be good news.
Your auto insurance rates could soon be set based on how you, personally, drive–not on your statistical risk.
General Motors Co. (GM) has launched an auto insurance program with its OnStar subsidiary to match data on driving patterns and usage to insurance costs. Tesla and Ford have also announced initiatives, according to Claims Journal.
Right now, insurance companies use criteria such as age, gender, neighborhood, and/or credit scores to set insurance prices. Consumer advocates have found this unfair because a good driver could live in a neighborhood that is unsafe and have a lower credit score.
Statistically, a teenage boy is the world’s worst auto insurance risk and insurance rates reflect this. But with usage-based insurance pricing, even a teenage boy might be able to demonstrate he is a good risk.
The mechanism of future insurance pricing will come from telematics–devices that collect real-time information on driving patterns and use. According to JD Power, demand for insurance based on telematics has increased during the pandemic as customers, working from home, though they could save money on insurance.
What that could mean for good drivers and drivers who don’t drive much is lower rates. Bad drivers would get higher rates. Depending on how the technology is deployed, drivers might get real-time feedback about how they are doing, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). That could be like having a permanent back-seat driver who is always right. But drivers do respond when they have incentives to drive better, according to iii.org.
A study by Willis Towers Watson showed that, in commercial fleets monitored by telematics, crash rates fell by 80 percent.
But will drivers have privacy concerns or will they resent having their every driving move monitored? Another survey by Willis Towers Watson suggests not. Resistance to the idea of cars monitoring driving is low, about seven percent.
GM will use data from its onboard concierge service, OnStar. The service helps drivers in emergencies and with navigation, but it also collects data on driving patterns. It takes special note of hard braking and acceleration.
Tesla’s initiative hasn’t yet launched.
Ford Motor Company has teamed up with Allstate Corporation to allow customers to share driving data.
GM says its OnStar program has provided the company with more data from connected vehicles than any other carmaker, as quoted in Claims Journal.
The company’s insurance offer will start in Arizona and use braking, acceleration, and general usage data to help set insurance rates. The program is set to expand nationwide using more data, including tire pressure, lane-keeping, and automated braking. More use of connected car data could be used if regulatory hurdles can be overcome.
What you need to know about road rage
Road rage can have severe consequences and lead to fatal crashes. That’s why it’s essential to take the necessary measures to remain calm while driving and know how to react if you’re the target of another driver’s aggression. Here are some things to keep in mind.
How to prevent road rage
Staying calm behind the wheel starts with good preparation. Give yourself enough time to get to where you’re going to avoid being in a hurry. That way, you won’t get stressed if the driver in front of you is moving too slowly, for example. It can also prevent you from making dangerous maneuvers to make up time, provoking other drivers.
It’s also vital to limit irritants by following the rules of the road and showing common courtesy to other drivers. For example, only honk the horn when necessary, use your turn signals, maintain a safe following distance, and don’t cut off other vehicles.
Defensive driving tips
The golden rule? Resist the urge to retaliate and provoke an angry driver. Ignore them, or if you’re worried, go to a police station or public place. Above all, don’t pull over, get out of your car or go straight home, as you could be followed. Call 911 and describe the person and vehicle.
Finally, remember that anyone can make a mistake and unintentionally do something frustrating or dangerous. If you do something wrong, apologize. If someone else does something irritating, take a few deep breaths. Getting angry is pointless and will only make things worse.
6 dangers of summer driving
Summer driving can be fun. However, the warm season brings challenges on the road. Here are six to keep in mind.
1. Sun. Beware of glare, especially at sunrise and sunset. Adjust your speed, wear good sunglasses, and clean your windshield regularly.
2. Fog. On top of reducing visibility and potentially camouflaging obstacles, dense fog can make the road slippery. Slow down and turn on your low beams, not your emergency flashers.
3. Thunderstorms. Reduced visibility, water accumulation, and high winds are all crash risk factors. Slow down and turn off cruise control to avoid hydroplaning and stay away from power lines.
4. Flip flops. Driving with sandals isn’t against the law, but it can affect your driving. For example, one could get lodged under a pedal.
5. Propane. Summer is barbecue season! Propane is a hazardous material. Make sure you transport it in an approved container that’s secure, upright, and in a well-ventilated area.
6. Distractions. According to research conducted by Travelers Insurance, distracted driving increases by eight percent during the summer. Reduce distractions by programming your GPS before setting off, stopping to eat, and giving your passenger control of the music.
Don’t let an accident ruin your summer. Drive safe!
Tips for preventing deer collisions
Deer are common across North America and frequently cause motor vehicle accidents. Here are a few tips to minimize the risk of colliding with a deer this summer.
Be extra vigilant
Look for signs indicating deer crossings in the area. Slow down and make sure you scan the road and your surroundings. Be particularly careful on slopes, sharp turns, and in areas of dense vegetation; a deer could unexpectedly jump out of a bush.
Remember that the risk is more significant in October and November, as deer move around more during mating season. Plus, deer often travel in groups. Therefore, if you see one, slow down because there may be more.
Maximize your visibility
Keep your headlights and windows clean. Turn on your high beams when driving at night, except when passing oncoming vehicles. Ideally, avoid driving at dawn and dusk. Deer are more active at these times of day, and the low light can make it hard to see.
Finally, if you see a deer, slow down and try to scare it away — and warn other motorists — by flashing your headlights or honking your horn. Avoid hitting the animal without swerving out of your lane or making a sudden turn at the last second. This could cause a more severe accident.
Get your car ready for summer road trippin’
As winter nesting gives way to summer wanderlust, your plans turn to sunny days on the open road. Before mapping your course, make these checks to ensure your car is highway ready.
• Check your car’s performance with a tune-up. Make an appointment to have your vehicle professionally inspected. They’ll check all essential operating systems so that the only travel surprises will be fun ones.
• Wash your car, inside and out. Thorough cleaning does more for your driving experience than make you look good on the road. A clean interior helps gives you fresh, healthy air to breathe and keeps your spirits high when the drive feels long. A tidy console eliminates dangerous distractions and makes maps, mobile phones, and tasty milkshakes more accessible.
• Stock up on emergency essentials. Put together the gear you’ll need in case of a breakdown. Start with your spare tire and add blankets, flashlights, a water supply, and nonperishable food. Inspect your first aid kit and replace any outdated or missing items.
• Drive in comfort with perfect AC. If you haven’t used your car’s cooling system for several months, give it a go before hitting the road. If it’s not working as well as you remember, have your refrigerant topped up or replaced.
• Back up your GPS with analog maps. Be prepared for off-grid detours or loss of mobile service. Keep a selection of paper maps in the glove box if the situation calls for some old-school navigation.
Finally, don’t forget the fun stuff. Stock up on snacks, compile your playlists, and keep a few car-friendly games within easy reach.
The easiest way to clean your car’s upholstery
Cars can get messy, especially if you have kids and pets. The good news is that there are tried and true methods of removing stains and cleaning your car’s upholstery. Here are a few.
Try this homemade solution to remove stains:
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup vinegar
• 1 tablespoon dish soap
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and apply them to the stains. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, then wipe it clean with a wet cloth. You can also try commercial spot-removing solutions available at your local automotive shop.
If vacuuming doesn’t remove your car’s pet hair, here’s a simple and inexpensive solution. Use a rubber-dipped glove to brush away the fur with your hand. The hair sticks to the glove, and your upholstery will be fur-free.
Eliminate nasty smells by mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 4 or 5 drops of essential oil such as lavender or ylang-ylang. Put the mixture in a sealed plastic bag or glass jar for a day. Then shake up the baking powder and sprinkle it on the floor. After about 20 minutes, vacuum up the powder. The fresh scent will remain for days.
Visit your local automotive shop or hard¬ware store to buy the supplies you need for your DIY car cleaning day.
How to prevent your car windows from fogging up
Driving with foggy windows is dangerous. It obscures your vision, making it difficult to see cyclists, pedestrians, and animals crossing the road. Sometimes blasting your defroster doesn’t clear things up. Try these remedies to prevent your car windows from fogging up.
Keep your glass clean
Condensation forms on oil and dust particles on your auto glass. Use glass cleaner and a newspaper or paper towel to clean your windows with regular wipe-downs to eliminate streaks.
Use anti-fog products
Immediately after cleaning the glass, apply a commercial anti-fog spray. In winter, use a product designed for interior use. Use an exterior-use product in the summer.
Try homemade remedies
Apply old-school shaving foam to the glass and remove it with a clean towel. Alternatively, cut a potato in half and rub the flesh on the glass. The starches and sugars in the potato repel fog.
Turn off the recirculate switch
Most cars have two settings for the heating and cooling systems. One recirculates the interior air, which improves efficiency. The other allows fresh air into the vehicle. If you have foggy windows, turn off the recirculate switch to get fresh air inside the cabin and remove moisture from the air.
Finally, visit an auto repair shop to ensure your cabin air filter is free of dust and particles that could flow into the car and cause a foggy windshield.
Wind: 7mph NW
UV index: 8