AAA Member Omar J. feels at home on the highway on both sides of the Atlantic. Originally from France, he and his family have moved between the United States and Europe several times since 2012. His job as general manager for market development for a major European airline brought him back to Atlanta in 2019.

Living in Atlanta again has been easy. “Atlanta is a very green area. You have a lot of space,” Omar says. “Growing up in an urban environment like Paris can be stressful.”

He lives with his wife and children in Marietta, about 30 minutes outside the city, commuting to work on the days he isn’t traveling internationally. “The friends and co-workers I have in Atlanta complain about the traffic, but this is nothing in comparison to one of the big European cities,” he says. “Paris traffic is so much worse.”

Trying something new

After his move back to the United States in 2019, Omar was shopping for auto insurance and contacted AAA. The personal touch from AAA made an impression: Whenever he made a change to his insurance, he didn’t have to talk to a stranger at a call center. “I worked with one person, who remembered my background, my story,” he says.

Happy with the service he received on his auto insurance, Omar moved his home insurance to AAA as well. And he also was interested when the AAA Insurance agent told him about AAADrive. This tool, a part of the AAA Mobile app, helps people improve their safety on the road by measuring their speed and other factors and then providing feedback.

Omar had frequently used his AAA Membership to get discounts for hotels when he traveled, but he wasn’t familiar with the safe-driving tool. “I didn’t know anything about AAADrive,” he says. “It was just an opportunity to test something new and get an additional discount on my premium.”*

Safer driving habits

His reasons for using the tool, however, are less about money and more about safety on the road, the environment and having fun. The app must be working for him. He was one of the top scorers among AAADrive’s 115,000 users in 2019, and he has a very respectable average score in the mid-80s. Omar checks the tool once or twice a week to find out how smoothly he’s been driving, what his speed has been and how much he’s been distracted by his cell phone. The tool can also measure what time of day he drives and how long he drives without a break. All of these factors affect a driver’s score.

“I notice when I review my score that I’m not distracted by my phone versus the average [driver score],” he says. “That’s because when I enter my car, I put the phone down. Even if I get a text, I don’t take it.” He has always been careful to avoid phone distractions, but using AAADrive has altered his driving behavior in other ways, too.

For example, when traffic is light on his commute, other drivers typically exceed the speed limit by 10 to 15 mph, Omar says. If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to do the same. So he uses AAADrive to monitor his speed more closely.

Omar has also changed the way he approaches intersections. “I anticipate more and am ready to brake—even if the light is green,” he says. “And when the light turns green, I don’t press the pedal aggressively but do everything a bit more smoothly.”

Environmental impact

Although safety is important to Omar, most of his satisfaction comes from the effect his smoother driving has on the environment. Environmental issues were also a motivator for Omar to give up his company SUV and purchase a Chevrolet Bolt. The all-electric car helps reduce carbon emissions and allows him to drive in the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane.

“For me, the sustainability question is key, and, of course, having an electric car is one part of it,” he says, “but driving smoother is also a big part of it because, indirectly, I use less energy. Thanks to this app, I’m able to monitor my driving, which helps me reduce my carbon emissions. So, I think it serves all these purposes.”

Family fun

“It’s so much fun and so much better for the environment that it just makes me feel good,” Omar says. “It’s not a game, but it’s stimulating to be able to measure my performance.”

Sometimes AAADrive and safety on the road become a topic of family conversation. “Even my kids have noticed a difference since I got the app,” he says of his children, who are ages 3, 5 and 7. “They tell me, ‘Oh, Dad, your score is going to drop,’ when I drive too quickly.”

AAADrive is a win-win, basically, for me,” he says. “It’s a way to make sure that I’m driving in a safer way and, at the same time, I’m getting some stimulation—comparing my performance day over day, week over week.”

This story was featured in the
September/October 2020 issue of AAALiving Magazine

Become a Better Driver Like Omar

To access AAADrive, download the free AAA Mobile app.

*AAADrive Auto Insurance Discount not available in Minnesota.

AAADrive participation is optional. Subject to terms, conditions and availability. AAADrive Auto Insurance Discount is not available in all states. Download of the mobile app, activation of AAADrive and the ability to record journeys are required to receive the discount. Savings based on driving behavior. Discounts apply to select coverages only and may vary by state.

Please refer to the Terms & Conditions to determine participation eligibility. Check your phone’s eligibility at Google Play or the App Store by texting MobileApp to 99513. If your phone does not meet the requirements, you will not be able to download the app.

Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Discounts and savings opportunities subject to eligibility requirements. Subject to underwriting requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, or non-affiliated insurance companies.

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