One of the most sobering facts about the Australian road toll is that the majority of serious accidents are caused by driver error rather than adverse conditions or mechanical failure. Speeding, hard braking and cornering, tailgating, drunk or fatigued driving and inattention cause thousands of deaths on Australian roads every year.
Not all these accidents are the result of deliberately reckless driving. Many drivers simply have no way of measuring how well they drive, or knowing how risky some of their behaviour is, until it causes an accident.
Fortunately, smartphone telematics technology is making it possible for drivers to get feedback on their driving skills, and eliminate bad behaviours before they lead to accidents.
Here are some of the best safe driving apps for Apple and Android.
Livesaver is designed to stop mobile distraction while driving dead in its tracks. On Apple devices the app displays a ‘keep your eyes on the road’ notification if the driver attempts to access it while driving.
The Android version engages a lock screen while driving. Not all apps are blocked, however. Drivers are still able to use Google Maps or make hands-free calls while driving.
Lifesaver also has a parental mode, which notifies parents when a teen driver makes use of a mobile phone while driving. Lifesaver scores users’ levels of distraction over a period of time, and safer drivers receive rewards such as iTunes credits.
It’s no secret that texting is one of the main reasons drivers become distracted by their mobile phones. messageLOUD routes around this problem with a simple solution. It automatically reads your text messages (SMS), WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, email & all other messages out loud.
Simple and easy to use, it addresses one source of distracted driving without cutting you off from the world altogether. An iOS version of the app is currently in testing and should be released soon.
Truemotion is designed to help parents get a handle on the driving behaviour of their teenage children. Parents are able to monitor their children’s location in real time, as well as define ‘rules’ for their children’s driving, including restrictions on speed and location.
If any of these rules are broken, parents are sent instant notifications. Every time the young driver takes a trip it is scored for key driving behaviours, allowing parents to step in to stop accidents before they occur.
There’s more to dangerous driving than being unable to resist phone distraction. Everdrive was designed to help you identify problem behaviours you may not even be aware of. This app tracks key elements of your driving on every trip you take, then presents you with a score for how well you drove once your trip is over.
One of its handiest features is that it runs silently in the background of your phone, then automatically identifies when you are driving and begins scoring your trip. Another great feature of Everdrive is that it allows you to compete with other app users to get the best driving scores. This turns safer driving into a competition and is a great way of promoting safer driving among your friends and family.
UbiCar builds on the features of driver tracking apps like Everdrive, by providing users with great incentives to improve their driving. Once you have installed UbiCar on your phone, it will start automatically tracking and scoring your trips, focusing on speeding, cornering, braking, acceleration and mobile phone distraction.
However, the benefits don’t stop there. If you drive safely on UbiCar you will qualify for fairer insurance rates on your car, and can also earn reward points for use in an online mall, or compete for prizes in regular safe driving competitions.