Most of us Minnesotans probably consider ourselves to be five-star drivers, and survey after survey seems to confirm that notion.
Just last month Expedia reported that motorists in the Gopher State were the most courteous in the country, while carinsurance.com in November ranked Minnesotans as the safest drivers on the road for the second year running.
But if you want a true opinion of how you are doing behind the wheel, just ask a back-seat driver or consult a new app that will scrutinize your every move and give you a driving score.
The EverDrive app, released in April and available free from Apple Store and Google Play, aims to make roads safer and drivers better by assessing their performance in areas such as acceleration, braking, speeding, taking corners and how much time drivers are handling their phones.
At the end of each trip, the app delivers a report card rating performance with one to five stars in each of the five categories and displays a map pinpointing the location of driving transgressions.
Drivers also get a composite score from 1 to 100 for each trip and a cumulative average for all trips taken over the past two weeks, which they can use to compare themselves with those other drivers they think should enroll in remedial driving school.
“We think the app will bring awareness to what they are doing wrong and give them specific information to let them get better,” said Andrew Ressler, executive vice president of the online auto insurance marketplace EverQuote, which teamed with Cambridge Mobile Telematics to create the app. “It’s actually kind of fun if you like to measure yourself like with a Fitbit.”
Early results show that we are not as good on the roads as we think we are, and we’re definitely not the best. That honor goes to our neighbor to the west, North Dakota. Drivers there have a composite score of 87. Minnesota drivers ranked 15th nationally with a composite score of 82, but still above the national average of 76.
Heavy on the pedal
Our scores, based on 11,000 trips covering 150,000 miles, indicate that we like to gun it when taking off from a dead stop — we came in a dismal 30th in that category — and we handle our phones way too much, coming in at No. 20.
We hit the brakes harder than we should — perhaps tailgating a tad too much — and tend to take corners much too fast or sharply. But we do OK at obeying the speed limit. Only 10 states fared better.
App users can post their scores to leaderboards and compete with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors or with other drivers in their city, state and across the country.
New York and Massachusetts, already steeped in a deep sports rivalry, have a contest going to see which state has the better drivers. Along with bragging rights, $50,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs. In Minnesota, drivers who use the app can enter a nationwide sweepstakes for every day they use the app through June 25. Prizes from $100 to $10,000 will be awarded.
The app, which passively measures a motorist’s maneuvers, should bring home some hard-hitting truths, Ressler said.
“Some people have no idea how much they use their phones,” he said. “A lot of people think once or twice, but we can show them on a map that on 20 percent of their trip they were playing with their phones.”
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