This post is brought to you in partnership with Mercury Insurance. Experiences, opinions, and driving habits are of the author.
Sixteen years ago, somewhere in Mexico, a teenage girl was getting her first car. A silver Toyota Rav 4 with a big red bow rolled into the garage and two very proud parents handed the keys over to a speechless sixteen-year-old.
The family of six would soon have an extra designated driver: the oldest daughter. “Wonderful,” the mom thought. Finally, there was someone to take the load off, less driving around, finally some help, less time in the car.
The first car crash. And the second. And the third. All together I think I was in more than 11 accidents during those first 18 months of having my little SUV. Nothing major. Never had to go to the hospital. Not even a neck brace. But, oh my poor car! That car was in the shop so many times. My poor parents. They definitely didn’t see that coming.
And today, I now find myself writing a review on a driving app from Mercury Insurance. The irony.
First off, given my history, I was a bit scared to do it. “Terrible driver,” “Go back to Mexico,” or “Do not let children drive with her,” could potentially be the results I would get. But to my relief, the app was more friendly. Strict and brutally honest, yet encouraging and satisfactory.
So, if you want to test your driving skills (and save money on your insurance), here’s what you do.
First, get a free quote from Mercury Insurance. If it seems like a good fit for you, enroll in MercuryGO and complete the policy process. Then, you’ll get a link to and download the MercuryGO app. The app is only available to Texas Drivers who use Mercury Insurance. The account setup process is a breeze. After that, you just drive. After just a few trips, scores will start to show on the app’s dashboard. It’s all very simple and user-friendly.
MercuryGO will review your trip based on these categories: Distraction, Speeding, Hard Braking, Harsh Acceleration, and Hard Cornering and for each category, it will give you up to five stars. The goal is to have all your trips rated with five stars on each category.
Then the app ranks you against all the app users. For someone that is a bit competitive like me, this will be a nice motivation tool.
During my first trips, I actually forgot I had the app running so my scores were bad. I would hard break, speed, and check my phone in the usual ways – and if you asked me then I would have said that I was a decent driver. I would even tell you how in Mexico, I used to get tickets all the time and here, zero, nada. Now I must confess that I probably haven’t gotten a ticket just because I haven’t been caught. How’s that for a realization?
So, as my scores got worse and I knew I was going to have to write a review and share screenshots of my dashboard, I became embarrassed and decided to step up my game. The first thing on my list was improving my “No Distraction” score.
Making trips without checking my phone was hard. At stoplights, I would instantly reach for my phone, and the self-restraint to NOT was probably only possible for me to achieve because I needed to earn my “No Distractions Badge” (cute!) so I could then take a screenshot, show it to you guys and keep my integrity.
I actually now have a streak of 12 trips without checking my phone. Yay me!
On to the next thing: Speeding. I started out on the bottom 20%, and I now find myself on the bottom 50%. I wish I had a better score to boast about, but I can’t lie. I will tell you though that of the 60 trips recorded on the app, I have 50 drives rated 4+ stars on speeding. I have yet to earn one “No Speed Badge,” but I am getting better. I am actually considered a “safe driver” on the app. Thank you for that Mercury, I can tell my friends their kids are safe with me (mostly).
A feature that I thought was really useful is that the app shows you on the map where you made an infraction. For instance, I realized that I speed on streets that are closer to home or that I frequently drive on. I know I speed when I am running late or when I have a crying baby on board which is very often, and the app reinforced that. So, there you go, I’ll do better, sneaky friend.
My husband drives my car on the weekends, so then I thought, what if he messes up my score? But thankfully the MercuryGO app developers thought that through and you can label your trips and choose if you were a passenger or the driver. You can also choose if you used other means of transportation which I thought was very smart.
And guess what? Honey (husband) you are not going to like this, but if it wasn’t for that useful feature, your trips would have actually messed up my score and contrary to your opinion (ahem)… I am a better driver than you are. How’s that for another realization?
After trying the app for a little more than 30 days I am happy to report that after 345 miles and 60 recorded trips my overall score is 85 out of 100. Compared to all the app users I am still at the bottom 50% but it is way better than being at the bottom 30% overall, which is where I started.
Taking an honest look at your driving skills is a great way to improve your road safety and your car insurance rates. Mercury Insurance takes into consideration the way you drive and will give you a better rate on your car insurance. Mercury offers a 5% percent discount just for signing up and depending on your driving score, you can get up to a 40% discount on your car insurance.
I would 100% use this app (and the 10% teen driver discount from Mercury Insurance) if I had a teenager. It would be the best way to test his/her driving skills, it wouldn’t be me yelling at (sorry, telling) her not to brake too hard, the app would do that for me. Smart. I would even put her on a trial to see how much we could improve in a month and by the end, I would have a more competent teenager behind the wheel, and it would also save me money.
Imagine if my parents had done this with me before I put my foot on the pedal of that shiny silver Rav-4 all those years ago…
The only downside is that I noticed that my phone battery seemed to be draining faster. However, I liked that if my battery was 15% the app would let me know that it wasn’t recording trips anymore.
I started this review project a little hesitant because I am not techy or the best driver out there. But the app was friendly and the challenge was fun – and how many people can say that about their insurance company’s products?
I may still speed up every once in a while, I may even give in to the temptation and peek at my phone at the stoplight, but these 30 days of knowing that my actions were being recorded by my sneaky companion have actually helped me develop better driving habits. So if anything, I want to thank the MercuryGO app team for helping this mama forget her teenage ways and be a safer driver on the Texas highways!