OnStar Introduces Smart Driver

Published June 7, 2017 by Sean Jackson

The innovations in vehicle technology can protect you in the event of an accident, and now, thanks to OnStar, they can help you adopt smarter driving behaviors as well. Recently, OnStar announced its newest feature Smart Driver.

How Smart Driver Works

If you have a vehicle with OnStar capabilities, you can enroll in this program. Once you do, OnStar compiles all your trips and assigns you a Smart Driver score based on driving habits such as braking, the length of drives, speeding, and acceleration. The higher the score, the safer the system rates you. If you earn a high score you can choose to send this data to your car insurance company, which could help you receive a lower rate on your premium. Meanwhile, if the Smart Driver program notices potentially unsafe behaviors such as hard acceleration or braking, it will notify you how many times you do it based on the number of trips you do per cycle. If you speed excessively--over 80 miles per hour--OnStar records the event and will lower your Smart Driver score based on it. Once you receive your report, outlining your driving events, OnStar provides safe driving tips to help you change these behaviors. Since these driving tips can help you raise your score, it’s important to take them into account. onstar smart driver how it works

Smart Driver Benefits

There are a wide variety of ways that can OnStar’s newest feature can benefit you. Let’s start on the financial end. As noted before, if you earn a high score regularly, you can send this data to your insurance company in hopes of earning a discount--it’s similar to the way Progressive “awards” lower premium prices based on their plug-in drive device. However, saving on insurance is only one aspect where you can save money with Smart Driver. Another way you can save money is by taking the tips supplied through the feature to employ safe driving behaviors. To demonstrate, if you reduce the amount of hard braking, excessive speed or hard acceleration, you increase your SUV’s fuel efficiency, thus reducing your gas expenses. Additionally, by driving safer, you can save trips to the mechanic. When you refrain from doing actions such as braking fast, you place less stress on your SUV’s main components, lengthening their life.

How to Sign Up

To be eligible for this feature, you must have a vehicle with OnStar capabilities. If you do, you can visit OnStar to sign up for this service. Once you do, OnStar records your driving habits, paying close attention to factors influencing your scores such as:
  • How you drive by way of braking and accelerating--it will send you locations when you brake or accelerate hard
  • When you drive--if you drive between 12:00 am and 4:00 am this qualifies as an event and could lower your score
  • Excessive speeding
  • Miles per gallon
  • Distance drove per trip
  • Total idle time
Using these factors, OnStar compiles reports it sends you once a month. Included in your report is your Smart Driving score, factors that contributed to your score, and tips to help you raise it. From there, you can decide if you want to choose the Insurance Discounts Eligibility feature. With this, you can earn financial rewards for your safe driving behaviors by way of lower insurance premiums.

Other OnStar Benefits

OnStar offers a plethora of benefits for different needs. There are turn-by-turn directions to help you navigate through areas foreign to you. Meanwhile, if you want comprehensive safety coverage, the SOS is a great feature to buy. With emergency services, you receive the following options:
  • Report an accident
  • If you or any other motorist requires help
  • Request fire, medical or police assistance
  • Your subscription includes a priority connection to trained emergency advisors
These benefits can give you peace of mind and provide lifelines to help when you need it the most. Meanwhile, if you want a layered security protection OnStar has you covered. With Remote Ignition Block, once you notify OnStar someone has stolen your SUV it can send a signal to your vehicle to disable the ignition. Then, if the thief tries to start your vehicle again they won’t be able to. Another way OnStar can help you recover your stolen vehicle is with the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. This is an outstanding feature in that OnStar sends the police a signal to help them identify the stolen vehicle. Next, once they determine the conditions are safe enough, OnStar slows the vehicle down. This reduces the likelihood for a high-speed chase, which can be dangerous and result in extensive vehicle damage. Furthermore, by slowing the vehicle down gradually, it makes it easier for law enforcement to recover the vehicle, so you receive it back quicker. If you require data connections on the go, OnStar offers built-in 4G LTE WiFi connection. Upon purchasing a subscription, and if you are a new owner, you receive three months free, you transform your vehicle into a mobile hotspot. This hotspot handles multiple connections while giving you fast access to your data remotely. If you are a wireless AT&T customer, you can select the unlimited plan for $20. This is perfect for families on the go or if you use your SUV as a mobile office for work.

Our Impressions

The new service through OnStar is a great way to keep tabs on your driving behaviors. When you receive access to the monthly reports, you can monitor habits you picked up which could be costing you money by way of reduced efficiency and wearing down components on your SUV quicker. Therefore, the Smart Driver feature doesn’t just help you be safer on the road, it helps you save more of your hard-earned money too.

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