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How telematics is transforming South African roads

Friday, September 08, 2017

Ask any city-dweller in South Africa what their biggest day-to-day gripes are, and their daily commute is more than likely to be close to the top of their list. With more and more cars and congestion on the roads every year, not to mention our notoriously action-packed driving styles, getting to and from work every day is an uphill battle we all have to face.

But technology is changing all that. The transport system has for years been one of the main beneficiaries of the digital disruption, with better and better mobile, data and telematics technologies giving rise to ride sharing apps for consumers, and helping cities to better design their public transport and road infrastructure systems for increased speed and capacity. And thanks to the humble smartphone, even private individuals can take advantage of this avalanche of data to make their own trips around town much more bearable.

Making us into better drivers

Road accidents account for the bulk of all vehicle insurance premiums. South Africa’s rates of road fatality are also almost double the worldwide average, so whether you’re trying to save money or simply keep safe while driving, telematics can help.

Driver monitoring through telematic trackers was initially adopted to great effect by businesses with large numbers of vehicles and drivers to monitor, ensuring they don’t break the speed limit or engage in behaviours that are bad for business. But increasingly, private individuals are making use of the same technology to better inform them of risky habits and help them develop a safer and more efficient way to drive. Mobile telematics are able to tell us when we’re going too fast, braking too hard, or heading into a traffic jam, great for preserving our vehicles, not to mention our peace of mind on the roads. What’s more, there are even real-world rewards for those who do. In the case of Dialdirect’s new Insurance App, good driving could impact your insurance premiums and even earn conscientious drivers cash-back every single month.

Keeping us aware of our surroundings

When we, as drivers, fall victim to crime on the roads or end up in a collision, one thought that seems to haunt us over and over again is “I shouldn’t have taken that route”. It’s impossible to tell what’s around the corner, but the information that telematics technologies are helping us gather can help you avoid statistically risky situations in the first place. Apps like Waze are one of the best ways to avoid high-traffic areas during rush-hour, and many other digital tools, Dialdirect’s Insurance App among them, use data gathered over time to identify accident hot-spots and high-crime areas and warn drivers in time to help them steer clear.

Making us aware of handy alternatives

With technology tracking your every action and destination, and all the while providing feedback to the driver, it’s only natural that we are becoming more aware of how our driving behaviours can take a toll on our wallets. Your famous Schumacher-style cornering may be fun, but it’s also taking a toll on your brakes and tyres. Driving your mates around during a night on the town may be more affordable than taking an Uber, but in risky areas with poor visibility, and considering South Africa’s unfortunate penchant for drunk driving, is it really worth the risk?

Being more aware of how driving impacts our safety (and our pockets) is making South African road users more eager to try out other convenient options for getting around. From public transport to using ride-sharing apps or carpooling with colleagues, we’re seeing better behaviours in South African drivers, for no other reason than that we are better informed.

If you’re keen to try your hand at using telematics to make yourself into a better, safer and more conscientious driver, the Dialdirect Insurance App is the perfect place to start. It not only monitors 7 essential driving behaviours, it offers valuable feedback in real-time and makes upping your driving game fun. Visit our website to find out more about how it works, and what rewards are in store for Dialdirect clients who are up for the challenge.