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It took me ex­actly one trip to change my driv­ing habits. After my first trip us­ing the app, I was sur­prised to learn I braked harshly, ac­cel­er­ated harshly and took cor­ners harshly. My start­ing score was 62 and de­spite get­ting mostly green stars on sub­se­quent trips, the nee­dle stood un­flinch­ingly at 62 for at least a day.

Since then, I have been scor­ing some­where be­tween 85 and 89 – my cur­rent score is 88. This places me in the top 25% of fe­male driv­ers, Gaut­eng mo­torists and driv­ers in South Africa who are us­ing the app. The app can’t be more spe­cific than that and it’s fine with me – I would love to see a score of more than 90, but life is just too short to drive any slower.

In ad­di­tion, the app is not re­ally pro­vid­ing me with sug­ges­tions on how I can im­prove – just one harsh brake or a small spurt of speed­ing here or there tend to keep the score in check, so the abil­ity to sig­nif­i­cantly change one’s driv­ing beyond a cer­tain point seems to be min­i­mal.

By far the most dif­fi­cult thing to con­trol was speed. While I kept to the speed limit most of the time, I of­ten sensed some im­pa­tience from cars be­hind me. Ac­cord­ing to the app, driv­ers like me are re­warded with be­tween R300 and R650 ev­ery month.

– Mar­cia Klein

Get­ting the Dis­cov­ery In­sure app took some time – no mat­ter what I did, it just wouldn’t ac­cept my ID num­ber.

When I fi­nally got it started, the app only con­firmed what I al­ready knew: I am a great driver, only prone to ex­ceed­ing the speed limit here and there.

I braked harshly dur­ing only one trip. There was a bro­ken-down taxi smack in the mid­dle of the road with­out any red tri­an­gles warn­ing mo­torists about it.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion: smooth. Cor­ner­ing: smooth. Phone mo­tion: none. It was very hard not to feel smug. My to­tal driv­ing score was 96. My only prob­lem with the app is that it does not start up as soon as you turn on the en­gine.

Steal­ing side­long glances at the phone on the pas­sen­ger seat showed that it usu­ally starts record­ing the drive mid­way dur­ing a trip. On one oc­ca­sion, it started record­ing when I was open­ing the gate to my com­plex.

Per­haps it needs a but­ton you can press when start­ing and end­ing a trip. Oth­er­wise, it’s a great app.

– Moy­agabo Maake

Ad­if­fer­ent side of me emerges when I get be­hind the steer­ing wheel. I be­come im­pa­tient (be­cause I don’t un­der­stand why peo­ple drive at 60km/h) and angry and am prob­a­bly the type of driver who says rude things about other mo­torists un­der my breath. But I still con­sider my­self a good driver.

When I first used the Dis­cov­ery In­sure app, I didn’t take it se­ri­ously.

My first score was 73 and I was marked down for us­ing my phone while driv­ing.

I got cocky be­cause I thought my score was so good and all I had to do was to stop us­ing my phone.

I did and, to my sur­prise, my score dropped to 70 be­cause the app had picked up some harsh brak­ing and speed­ing.

So I de­cided to follow the speed limit (no mat­ter how slow I thought it was) and my score went up to only 71. On the next trip, my score dropped to 70 again be­cause of some harsh ac­cel­er­a­tion. I made a men­tal note to move off slower when the traf­fic lights turned green.

And this was my dance with the Dis­cov­ery In­sure app, al­ways want­ing to beat my pre­vi­ous score.

Things got worse when I went to the leader­board and dis­cov­ered my col­league had a much higher score than I had.

I couldn’t bear the smug­ness she might dis­play, so I had to beat her. I’m still try­ing.

– Mamello Ma­sote

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