Lifelogging: is it worth the effort?

Barry Collins spends a month logging everything about his life using a variety of apps and gadgets. Did he learn anything worthwhile? Here’s his thoughts on driving apps

Monitoring your driving

It’s simply a matter of time before insurance companies insist on black boxes recording our driving habits before they’ll even offer us a premium. So what’s life like with Big Brother in the passenger seat? I tested two apps designed to rate your driving skills, both offering the carrot of discounts on insurance premiums to those adjudged to be careful drivers.

Both the MotorMate and Aviva Drive apps claim to monitor your driving style, using a combination of GPS and accelerometer to determine your speed, how you brake and accelerate, and “how you anticipate the road” – whatever that means.

Both will offer a final verdict on your driving style only after you’ve driven 200 miles using the app, which I didn’t have time to do in my month of lifelogging, but at least they give you some feedback along the way.

MotorMate’s feedback is the more comprehensive, but also the most baffling. It gives you a little report after each journey. On both the test trips I took using the app, it didn’t record a single incidence of speeding, excess acceleration or low anticipation – the three big driving no-nos the app is looking for.

Nevertheless, the report for each trip concluded “your driving style is not ideal”, and told me that if I wanted my score to increase, I should “concentrate on anticipating the behaviour of other drivers and braking and accelerating smoothly”. It then handed me a patronising virtual medal with “3rd” on it, without any explanation of what that means, although my CV now reads “3rd best driver in Britain, according to”.

Motormate Aviva’s app is even less forthcoming. It dishes out badges such as “Corner Master” (for smooth steering), or “Brake Master” (for not slapping on the anchors too heavily) – but I failed to earn any of these on my two test trips. For full feedback and an Aviva Drive score, I have to wait until I’ve clocked up 200 miles.

Aviva app
What worries me most about these apps is where this data about my driving ability will end up. FAQs state that “this information will be used by and may be used by certain [unspecified] insurers to assess your driving behaviour and provide a motor-insurance premium based on that information”.

Is my next premium going to rise because a blind app considers that I’m not cornering smoothly enough? Will I be punished in the pocket for braking sharply to avoid hitting a pedestrian? I’m not sure whether these apps are designed to reward good drivers or drive up premiums, but I suspect it’s the latter.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos