I’ve invited Big Brother into my car.

Progressive Insurance has this device that you can install under your dashboard to monitor your driving. The selling point is that they’ll give you a discount on your auto insurance if you behave.

When I signed up for my first six months, I thought, “What the hey? I’m a good driver.”

Oh, was I surprised, annoyed, and angry. At first.

The device is called Snapshot and it doesn’t log your speed so much as it monitors how quickly you brake. If you decelerate more than 7 miles per hour in some small time frame (a second, maybe), the delightful little device chirps at you three times.

Forget backseat driver. This is like an under-the-dash driver (who can’t even see the road) trying to tell you how to operate the car you’ve driven for 12 years–and it never shuts up.

I was gonna yank the thing out by its electrodes, but somehow I talked myself in to giving it a week. And then another. And then another. That was five weeks ago.

Now I’m driving like my 73-year-old mother. Well, maybe that’s not a good comparison since my mother drives a Ducati. (That’s a crotch-rocket for your motorcycling illiterates.) Now I’m driving like those slow people I used to l-o-a-t-h driving behind. The ones who take forever to crawl to a stoplight and who actually limit their speed to the speed limit.

You know, it actually feels kinda good. I’m calmer behind the wheel. I’m more at peace when I drive, a pretty mean feat in Orlando where we have more tourists than mosquitos.

And then I got deep. What would happen if I had a Snapshot on my desk at work to remind me when I was doing personal stuff on the clock?

Beep-beep-beep.

Or when my voice got too loud with my kids?

Beep-beep-beep.

Or when I stared at that illicit billboard on the highway that I should have looked away from?

Beep-beep-beep.

Or when I lied to my spouse, boss, friend, (fill in the blank)?

Beep-beep-beep.

How much would my life change then?

 

What areas in your life could you use a Snapshot to remind you that you’re straying off the road?

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