Many young drivers will be familiar with the idea of a telematics box, or more commonly known as a black box — and it might even be a phrase that they’ve dreaded hearing when said by a parental figure. The role of a black box is to monitor driving habits, and they are especially popular amongst newly qualified drivers for the reason that they provide data which may help to eventually lower insurance costs by promoting safer driving.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding black boxes though, such as what they can and can’t record. Join Collingwood, specialist car insurance providers and debunk some of the most common misconceptions and myths surrounding black boxes.
Will my black box share all of my journey information with my parents?
When you first pass your driving test, it brings a great sense of freedom and many young people embrace it as an opportunity to take road trips with friends. However, some young people are under the impression that a black box device impedes on this new-found freedom, by acting as a GPS tracker which informs prying parents of their every journey.
Another similar query was whether an insurance company could relay information on driver journeys to parents. While black boxes must have location services installed in order to carry out its functions, young drivers shouldn’t be put off having one for the above reason. The way that a supplier uses the black box data will be clarified for the policy holder, and in some situations, it can prove beneficial. If you were involved in an accident and your insurance supplier receives a related police inquiry or if you are believed to be injured in a remote location, then your black box could provide extremely important information.
Typically, the policy holder, named drivers, third parties with authority to act on the policy and the insurance company will be able to access information on the car’s location and journeys. Other parties would not have access to the location information of the vehicle unless they have been granted authority to do so by the policy holder or the insurance company.
My black box is making my car battery run flat!
A common question surrounding black boxes is whether or not they can actually affect the functionality of a vehicle. Many apprehensive black box drivers have queried whether their device could be draining the battery of their car. On Answer the Public, an online search generator resource, this question appeared in three different variations which signifies that it is a commonly entered query. The answer to this is no, as the only connection that the black box has to your car is for power.
There’s no reason that a fully working black box should affect your car battery or any other function, as it is a self-contained device with an interior SIM card and software.
My black box keeps turning the radio down?!
Another odd belief is that a black box can actually turn down the radio in the car — making you feel like you’re back driving with an instructor! For safe driving, of course a quiet environment does help to promote a sense of awareness, but your black box will not interfere with how loud you like to play your treasured copy of Now! That’s What I Call Music 54.
Can my black box record my conversations?
There are some baffling myths to explore with this popular search, such as whether black boxes can record every conversation that happens in a car fitted with the device. Current models are not able to record any audio from the car, so you don’t have to fret about this one. Black boxes only record specified safety information to help determine how safely a motorist drives.
Recorded factors include the time of day or night that the car is being used, accelerating and braking habits, journey length, motorway miles, and the number of journeys made, calculating an overall driving score as a result.
If my black box shows that I’m braking too heavily, will I have higher premiums?
Being a cautious driver isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and as a standard requirement a black box will pick up on actions such as braking to determine the safety of your driving habits. Braking is an indicator of awareness but Answer the Public revealed that drivers worry about whether braking detected by their black box could result in heftier premiums. This isn’t the case though, and your driving score will only become affected if you are recorded braking heavily repeatedly.
Dismiss the myths and rest assured that black boxes are simply there to reward safe driving habits and promote safe driving.
"When you first pass your driving test, it brings a great sense of freedom and many young people embrace it as an opportunity to take road trips with friends."
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