This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide. I purchased my own insurance at normal prices. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’m a good driver. But it wasn’t always that way. On my sixteenth birthday I failed my driving test because I backed into a cone while parallel parking. I was in my first accident just weeks after passing my test and actually receiving my license. It was raining hard and I hydroplaned into the car ahead of me, stopped at a red light. My driving history went about like that for many years after. Several tickets, minor fender benders, and defensive driving courses later, I went abroad and my driving record slowly cleared as the months passed by.
When Dave and I were married, I remember my dad joking about being even more excited to get me off of his car insurance policy than my marriage! Needless to say, I went into getting my own coverage with some trepidation. Dave added me to his existing Nationwide plan, which was the lowest rate he had found (plus we got our multi-driver discount when I signed on) and we’ve been customers ever since.
Luckily, my driving has improved radically since my younger years. In fact, I haven’t had a moving violation since I returned to the states over ten years ago. In a lot of ways, my driving improvements are due to being more mature and less reckless. I think becoming a mom has also changed my ideas about driving. I care more about safety than speed, and since I’m always late everywhere anyway (dang kids’ shoes!) a few extra minutes don’t hurt.
I’ve learned a lot about driving carefully, and want to share my top 3 tips for better driving, whether you’re young or old:
- Put Down Your Phone: This should go without saying, but as I look around it seems like most drivers have their phone in their hands at some point during a trip, whether to look at directions on a map or to answer that urgent text. I have a habit on road trips of pulling over to take pictures of pretty scenery, and think that taking the time to pause, and practicing pulling over to look at our phones when absolutely necessary is a good idea. Staying focused on driving gives us the advantage of being aware of unexpected changes on the roads, and shows our kids a good example of paying attention to the task at hand.
- Drive During Daylight: There are so many reasons daytime driving is safer than nighttime driving, most obvious being that you can see! Along with becoming more cautious with age and motherhood, I’ve also started to be aware that my sight is strained when it gets dark. If it happens to also be raining or wet out, the headlight reflections add another dangerous dimension. Not only can you see better with sunlight, but your body naturally is more awake and alert. Also, other drivers are more likely to be sober and safe when the night is young.
- Plan Ahead: A few extra minutes ahead of the trip to leave on time, so you’re not in a hurry on the road, can make a huge difference. I learned in one of my many defensive driving courses that when you’re traveling for around 30 miles, speeding up from 65 to 75 saves you less than 4 minutes! And ironically the faster you go, the less the speeding helps. In addition to obeying the speed limit, planning ahead on the road means changing lanes in advance of our immediate need to turn, slowing down when we spot that yellow light ahead, and looking at the map ahead of time to have an idea where we’re headed before we leave.
These simple tips can make a huge impact on our driving habits, and allow us to remain safely in control in the driver’s seat. In addition to being safe and happy, with the Nationwide SmartRide program, my good driving can also save us money! If you sign up for SmartRide, whether as an existing or new customer of Nationwide, a little device comes in the mail that will easily plug into your car and monitor four habits: miles traveled, minutes driven during nighttime, hard braking and fast acceleration. You can then monitor your own driving habits in these categories for a few months, with potential to earn a final discount based on your driving habits. When I called to enroll for SmartRide and get the device, the agent told me we would start enjoying a 10% discount just for signing up! The program can’t hurt your rates, as a result of participating in the program, and the final discount could be between 0%-40%, depending on my driving trends.
I can’t wait to try it out and see how we do! I signed Dave up for the program as well, and since he basically commutes to work, parks all day, then commutes home I’m guessing his discount will be great. I’m happy to save a little money wherever we can, and I can’t wait to get my SmartRide devices in the mail and get started!
Nationwide asked that I include this information about the product:
Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliates. Columbus, Ohio. Availability varies. Discounts do not apply to all coverage elements; actual savings vary by state, coverage selections, rating factors and policy changes. Enrollment discount applies during data collection; final discount is calculated on driving behavior and could be zero. Final discount applies at the next policy renewal and remains until drivers or vehicles on the policy change.