The Best Defense: Preparing to Share the Road with Self-Driving Cars

freeway carsThe promise of self-driving cars is that they’ll make the roads safer. Because they can constantly obey the rules of safe driving, avoid conflict by communicating with one another directly, and eliminate the potential for driver error, self-driving vehicles are seen by manufacturers, experts, and safety regulators as a game-changer when it comes to reducing the risk of collisions.

But how is this going to affect people who still prefer to drive? Will drivers be able to share the road safely with self-driving cars? Will we have to learn new skills or adopt new technologies if we want to stay in charge of our own driving experience?
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Guest Post! How to Save on Car Insurance (in California and Beyond)

Hi, all! We have a little change of pace for you this time around, with a guest post from one of our behind-the-scenes team members, who recently took a close look at how to save on car insurance. He put one of our special offers to the test, and followed it up with some interesting research. Here’s his report.

Harness the awesome power of modern computing to save on car insurance!

Harness the awesome power of modern computing to save on car insurance!

Hi, my name is Johnathan!

I work here at eDriving,’s parent company, and lately we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about insurance. It’s a natural fit for us, because our goal is always to keep you safe and informed, and if we can help you save some money along the way, that’s great, too! Now, if you’re lucky—and safe!— you’ll never need to use your insurance, but you do have to have it, and we’ve recently discovered a great tool that compares insurance policy quotes so you can see if you’re in a position to save some money.

Answer Financial free car insurance quote tool.

Getting started (for free) at Answer Financial.

Using this tool is simple. It begins by asking your zip code and whether or not you are currently insured. I do currently have insurance, so I chose that, entered my zip code, and began the process. The next thing I saw was four tabs: Vehicles, Drivers, Insurance, and Quotes. The information they asked for was pretty basic, but I definitely recommend having a copy of your current insurance policy with you when you’re filling out that section.

Less than half a cup of coffee later, I found out that I was eligible for a policy that will save me over $50.00 a month. The entire process took me all of 10 minutes and I’ll be saving $600 a year. So, is Answer Financial worth the time? It definitely was for me!

We crunched the numbers—and found some savings!

We crunched the numbers—and found some savings!

Want to run a quote comparison of your own? Why not? It’s easy! Just visit Answer Financial to get started. Good luck!

There’s another way to save on car insurance that’s just for California residents. California’s Low Cost Insurance Program helps make sure low-income drivers can still carry the insurance they need to be driving legally. If you’re interested, check here to see if you qualify for the program.

I went to the site to check it out, and found that a two-member household that makes a maximum of $40,050 a month can qualify for a premium of only $376.00.

You may or may not end up qualifying for this program, but if you’re a California resident it’s certainly worth your time to check. That’s it for me—thanks! Hope you found this information useful. I certainly did, and I’ll have an extra fifty bucks in my pocket this month to prove it!

You probably have more questions than just how you can save on car insurance, and we sure hope we can help answer them! Take a moment to stop by our Insurance Center for more information, and for a look at some alternative ways to save on car insurance, read this article at I Drive Safely!

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How Much Do Distraction, Emotion, and Other Unsafe Behaviors Increase Driving Risk?

cars at intersectionIn drivers ed classes, you hear a lot about the dangerous things you can do as a driver that will make you more likely to get into a crash. But just how dangerous are they?

Unfortunately, we can usually only answer this question indirectly, by looking at the crash data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and trying to figure out how frequently different factors are associated with collisions. This approach has a lot of limitations, however, not the least of which is the fact that this information is collected after the crash has happened. As a result, it’s hard to figure out exactly what the driver was doing before the crash that may have caused it.

attentive driver wearing seat beltNow, thanks to a recent study of driving risk from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), we have a better idea of just how risky the risks of driving really are. What makes VTTI’s findings different is that they’re based on a kind of research called a Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), in which study participants and their vehicles are equipped with cameras, sensors, radars, etc. to record what the driver is doing. So if the driver gets into a crash, the researchers can figure out what exactly he or she was doing when it happened.

Overall, the study found that nearly 90% of crashes involved a driver doing something wrong, either by committing specific driving errors, driving in a risky way, or being distracted, fatigued, or impaired. That means that nearly nine times out of ten, when a crash happens there was something that a driver could have done differently to prevent it.
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Who’s the Best Driver in Your Family?

Who’s the best driver in your family? It turns out that the answer may be trickier than you think! A few months ago, ran an online poll asking people to answer this question, and the results were eye-opening.

Who Is the Best Driver In Your Family?

Who Is the Best Driver In Your Family?

First, it seems we rate ourselves a little—or a lot!—more highly than we rate those closest to us. Specifically, 85% of adults rate themselves as fairly or very good drivers, but only 33% rate their children as fairly or very good. Adults also rate their parents as worse drivers than they are, grading 40% of their mothers and 44% of their fathers as fairly or very good.

Second, only 2% of all people admit they’re bad or not very good drivers. Think about that for a second: the last time you drove to the store, did you feel like one in 50 of the drivers around you was bad or at least not very good? Or maybe, just maybe, did you feel like it was a tiny bit higher than just one in 50?

What could account for these bizarre discrepancies?

The main factor is probably the Dunning-Kruger effect. This fascinating finding argues that most of us believe we’re simply more skilled than we really are, and this finding has been validated time after time, in carefully controlled experiments. But there seems to be something else also going on here, because the married participants rated their spouse / significant other as fairly or very good 85% of the time—exactly as often as adults in general (over-) rated themselves that highly!

It seems, in other words, that we’re not just judging ourselves as better than we are. We’re also overrating everybody we know! Our survey revealed that respondents judged themselves and their families to be “decent,” or average, drivers at about a 10% rate, and in every case ranking themselves and their families as fairly good and very good more often than ranking these people as “average.” This isn’t statistically very likely, of course—and it’s worth remembering that not everybody can be above average, no matter how much you love them!

Our best guess is that it’s just too easy to overlook what people are doing wrong in the car, at least when you’re there in the car with them! That means that it can just plain be hard to know who the best driver in your family is, without some external guidance. Try the following game to see if you can identify the best driver more accurately!

First, download and print out our Best Driver Checklist. Take it with you when somebody in your family is driving. Rate them before the drive, and keep an eye out for the following bad driving behaviors: what we call our “Driving Vices.”

  • Failure to control speed
  • Driver inattention (distracted driving)
  • Failure to drive in a single lane
  • Unsafe lane change
  • Following too closely
  • Driving at an unsafe speed (below the speed limit)
  • Faulty evasive action
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Driving at an unsafe speed (above the speed limit)

Anytime you spot your driver doing one of these things, mark it on the checklist and make a note of the circumstances, so you can talk about it later. When you’re safely at your destination, rate the driver again. Make a habit of this, and make sure every member of your family plays along: you just may discover that the best driver in your family isn’t who you thought—and you’ll almost certainly discover that everybody in your family needs to be just a little bit better.

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Warming Up Your Car: The Right Way to Get on the Road in Cold Weather

winter drivingDoesn’t everything seem to take longer during the winter—longer to get yourself out of bed, longer to get yourself ready, longer to start your car and get on the road? The thing is, it’s not like we have any less to do when it’s cold, so it’s easy to feel rushed and start cutting corners—even when you thought you had plenty of time.

Our point is, winter mornings can be tough. To help make them a little easier for you, we’ve put together this short guide to getting your car ready for driving as safely and quickly as possible when it’s cold. If it’s taking you too long get on the road in cold weather, it may be that there are steps you could be doing more efficiently, or steps you could be skipping altogether!

For instance, do you really need to warm up your engine for several minutes before getting on the road? Is there any way to get your windows to defog any faster? How can you make sure you’re not wasting gas as you get ready? Read on to find out!
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The Road to Self-Driving Cars: California Releases New Rules

4 way intersectionSelf-driving cars are getting closer to reality every day, but before people can start using them, the governments and agencies that oversee the roads are going to have to set some rules for how they should be used. Will drivers have the ability to take control? How will they share the road with other drivers? And if a self-driving car gets into a crash, who’s responsible?

Last month, the California DMV took an initial step towards answering these questions by releasing the nation’s first proposed rules to govern the public use of autonomous vehicles. These guidelines have been eagerly awaited, as California’s rules will provide a framework for other states and the federal government to follow as they consider their own policies for self-driving cars.
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Driving around the World: Weird Rules for Getting Your License in Other Countries

Driving instructor observing learner driverIn the United States, getting your license can be a complicated process. For one thing, every state in the country has a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) policy in which drivers under 18 must pass through several stages of restricted driving before they are eligible for a full license. Moreover, most states require novice drivers to complete an official drivers ed course, sometimes until they’re as old as 25. Finally, drivers of all age must pass written and behind-the-wheel driving tests at their state’s official licensing agency before they can be issued a license.

But as frustrating as the process can sometimes be, we know that these steps play a role in making roads safer. For instance, studies show that taking drivers ed is associated with fewer tickets and collisions, and that crash rates among young teenagers have dropped by 20% to 40% in places where elements of GDL programs had been adopted. Nevertheless, not everyone does things the way we do in the United States, and some of the ways other countries deal with drivers licensing may surprise you.
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Making New Year’s Driving Resolutions to Make the Roads Safer

driving at duskIt’s that time of year again: the time of year for those not-so-subtle reminders from friends and random strangers that your life might be better if only you would commit to making some changes.

I’m not usually the type to make New Year’s resolutions, because I think the other 364 days are all perfectly good times to begin self-improvement. But because of a helpful article from the California Office of Traffic Safety, I am making an exception this year to do my part to make the roads safer.
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Driving Under the Influence: The Dangers of Marijuana-impaired Driving

marijuana plantOver the past couple weeks, we’ve examined the issue of driving under the influence, discussing the role of strict laws in reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road and looking at some new approaches to keeping people from driving when they’re intoxicated. But as we consider some potential solutions, we also have to acknowledge that the problem itself is changing, as drug impairment is becoming nearly as common as alcohol impairment. For instance, one study of NHTSA crash data has found that 40% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2013—nearly as many as tested positive for alcohol! In addition, in a recent roadside survey, 22% of drivers tested positive for the presence of some drug (medications included).

In particular, the effect of marijuana on drivers has come under special scrutiny as states around the country continue to relax their prohibitions of it. Already, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington), as well as Washington, D.C., have also decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. Yet even before these legalization efforts began, marijuana was the drug (other than alcohol) most frequently detected in drivers; now, with marijuana legalization efforts continuing to gain steam, it’s worth wondering whether the drastic drop in alcohol-related crash fatalities that we’ve seen over the past 30 years is about to be reversed by a drastic rise in marijuana-impaired driving.

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Driving Under the Influence: New Solutions to the Drunk Driving Problem

pour martinis in barIn 2013, more than 32 people died every day because someone decided to get behind the wheel when they’d been drinking. By now, you’d think people would know better! But even though the number of yearly drunk driving deaths has dropped dramatically over the past three decades, there are still countless people who aren’t getting the message. Indeed, one recent survey found that more than four million people may be driving drunk every month!

Traffic laws. Safety technologies. Public awareness campaigns. Education. We’ve already done so much to keep people from getting on the road under the influence of alcohol that it’s hard to believe there’s anyone who doesn’t know how dangerous drinking and driving is. At this point, how can anyone not know that driving drunk can get you arrested—or killed? To be sure, our efforts aren’t wasted; in this case, the price of safety on the road is eternal vigilance, and we should never forget that DUI fatalities are as low as they are only because we’re already doing so many things right.

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of a drinking age of 21 in New York, one of the first major victories in the fight against drunk driving. This week is also the beginning of a national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign designed to keep the roads clear of drunk drivers through the holiday season. In the spirit of these efforts, we want to acknowledge just how far we’ve come—and to take a look at some new solutions to help us get even more drunk drivers out from behind the wheel.
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