How to improve your driver score for a better price at renewal
Written by Zego
How do we calculate your driver score?
The driver score is the most important feature of the Zego Sense app. It allows you to understand how well you’ve been driving, so that you can make improvements in order to receive a reduced premium at renewal. The better you drive, the more you save - it’s as simple as that. But how exactly is your driver score calculated?
Sense uses your phone’s inbuilt sensors
The Zego Sense app uses location and motion data from your phone’s inbuilt sensors to monitor your driving behaviours whenever you drive. It picks up on the frequency of factors like harsh braking, aggressive acceleration and sharp cornering, and compiles this data to create your driver score on a rolling basis.
Your score is an average over time
Your score is a reflection of how well you drive over an extended period of time, so it won’t be skewed by one moment or even one day. The app also understands when you’re driving vs when you’re a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about other people’s behaviour affecting your score.
Your score may change even if you don’t drive for a few days
Note that since your score always reflects an average of your driving in the most recent weeks, you might see changes even if you haven’t driven for a couple of days as the window of relevant data progresses. However, for your score to be valid, you must have completed either 50 trips or driven at least 300km.
How to improve your driver score
The Zego Sense app monitors a variety of driving behaviours to create your driver score, specifically, acceleration, braking and cornering.
We’ve put together this handy guide to show you how you can master each of these areas and achieve a fantastic driver score for savings at renewal!
How to improve: acceleration
The Sense app detects when you may have accelerated much more than you need to. Harsh acceleration could make your vehicle less stable, especially on poor road surfaces, which could lead to accidents.
Harsh acceleration also tends to use more fuel, driving up your costs and harming the environment, as well as making your journey uncomfortable for passengers and putting unnecessary strains on the vehicle.
Tips for safe acceleration
Developing your accelerator competence
Regardless of the conditions you may be driving in, it’s good to have a sound understanding of how to use your accelerator effectively. Use accurate and smooth movements to release or depress to avoid any sudden or harsh movements of the vehicle. This will help you develop a better “acceleration sense” – in other words, your ability to respond to changing road and traffic conditions with your accelerator, rather than braking.
Moving off too quickly
We may detect harsh acceleration if you try to move away from a stationary position too quickly. Instead, when moving from stationary to driving, accelerate smoothly and increase your speed by slowly working up through the gears (in a manual vehicle).
Before moving off you should:
- Use all your mirrors to check the road is clear
- Check your blind spots
- Always look around for a final check!
Remember: Mirrors - Signal - Manoeuvre
Accelerating in bad weather
If it’s wet or snowy, take extra care! Accelerating too quickly could cause your tyres to skid. In wet conditions, your car’s tyres could lose contact with the road surface due to aquaplaning, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
To avoid these incidents, be sure to accelerate gently in poor weather conditions.
Accelerating at red lights
Harsh acceleration is sometimes detected if you try to get through traffic lights when they’re turning red. It’s important to stay aware and always look ahead to reduce the risk of harsh acceleration happening. When the lights are switching to red, it’s time to slow down, not speed up.
Accelerating when overtaking
We get it, sometimes you’re stuck behind another vehicle and need to overtake and be on your merry way. Always make sure you can overtake safely before you decide to manoeuvre. As you overtake, your speed should always stay under the speed limit.
Always plan ahead
Check your planned route is clear of delays, and give yourself enough time to get to your destination. This makes it less likely that you’ll have to rush to arrive on time, which can cause you to accelerate more quickly than normal.
How to improve: Braking
The Sense app detects when you brake more harshly than you need to, which could lead to accidents.
You should always brake gently while driving (except if you need to brake immediately in an emergency to avoid a hazard – even so, try to avoid braking so harshly that your wheels lock, which can lead to a loss of control).
Tips for safe braking
Keeping a good distance
Always make sure you keep well back from the road user in front of you. Stopping distances are often longer than you think - check out the recommended stopping distances from the AA.
Coming to a stop
If you’re coming up to a red light, stop sign or junction, always make sure you come to a stop early and lightly. Brake more firmly as you begin to stop, and ease the pressure off just before the vehicle comes to rest in order to avoid a jerky stop.
Braking in bad weather
Wet or icy conditions can increase the stopping distance of your vehicle, aka how long it takes for your vehicle to come to a halt after you’ve applied the brakes. This is because your tyres have less grip on the road.
To avoid harsh braking, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Drive slower, brake more gently than usual, and always keep a good distance away from the driver in front of you.
In icy weather, it may help to drive at a slow speed in a higher gear, braking very gently.
Braking around a bend
When going around a bend, it can help to think about your braking. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach the bend. This will allow you to take the bend smoothly, having already slowed down, so that you don’t need to brake suddenly, which could make you skid.
Sometimes you may brake harshly due to an unexpected hazard. Always make sure you stay aware when you’re driving to help you to anticipate these hazards, and allow you to slow down more gently. Stay alert, avoid distractions like mobile phones, and rest if you feel too tired to drive.
And remember that stopping distances are always longer in wet or icy weather.
How to improve: Cornering
Sense detects when you take corners faster than necessary, which could cause you to lose control of your vehicle especially on poor road surfaces, making accidents more likely.
Tips for safe cornering
Approaching a bend
Ease off the accelerator or gently brake to reduce your speed on approach to the bend. Take the bend slowly, and only speed up again when you have rounded the corner.
When going around a bend, always anticipate unexpected hazards just around the corner. Make sure you approach the bend slowly enough that, should a hazard appear, you can stop or swerve in time to avoid an accident.
Be extra careful going around a bend in bad weather, especially if it’s wet or icy. Drive slowly and avoid braking or accelerating too harshly, which can otherwise cause your car to skid.
Try not to overtake on a bend as you won’t be able to see ahead of you to identify hazards quickly enough, which could cause you to brake or accelerate harshly.
For a visual presentation of cornering techniques you can check out this video by Reg Local: "5 Tips to Improve Your Cornering"