The average age of cars on the road today is 11.4 years. That means they lack most of the new intuitive technology that is making newer cars almost as smart as phones. A host of companies are making products that can be installed in older cars to bring them up to date. Verizon’s entry, hum, is easy enough for non-techies to install and use. Its diagnostic features offer increased peace of mind to car owners heading out on long summer road trips, and its speed and geofencing (or location based) features provide families with an added layer of protection while teens are on the road.

Photo courtesy of hum by Verizon

Photo courtesy of hum by Verizon

hum by Verizon

Having a new teen driver is one of those bittersweet moments of parenthood. There’s the overwhelming relief that you will no longer be a full-time chauffeur. And then there’s the gut-wrenching fear of knowing that your teen is behind the wheel, driving his friends, blasting his music and generally believing he is invincible. Unfortunately, we all know the scary statistics about teen drivers that prove they are not invincible at all.

When my oldest son started driving, there was no hum by Verizon. Too bad. If there had been, the boundary alert feature would have told me that the first week he had his license, he broke a family rule and drove to Chelsea Piers to play golf. Because I didn’t have hum, I didn’t know that he had violated the no-driving-into-New-York-City rule. I learned that about a year later when he slipped up and told on himself.  If I had had hum back then, I could have used my hum app to set a boundary alert, and would have received a text message notifying me when my son drove outside the area we were comfortable with.

hum-by-verizon

While I am not at all interested in catching my kids doing something wrong, I do like that hum shows them (and you) in actual statistics where they can improve as drivers. In fact, that’s how I convinced my newest driver, my daughter Sophia, that hum wasn’t all bad. When she first heard I had installed hum on the car she drives, she was skeptical. But once I explained that she can see on the app how she can improve her driving, she was intrigued.  More on this after we have used hum for a while.

Get hum and go

To help increase teen driver safety this summer, Verizon is offering a deal through Aug. 31: buy a hum for your eligible new teen driver and receive a credit from Verizon for the $50 equipment fee, $20 activation fee and first three months of service ($10 per month before taxes and fees). To learn more, visit go.hum.com or your local Verizon Wireless store.

Learn more about the deal and hum by Verizon from this segment of Good Morning America:

GMAVideoScreenshot

You can enroll up to four users on your hum account. You may also add a secondary driver on the vehicle and grant that person access to whatever you want that person to see in the app.

Hum Review

hum-by-Verizon

Verizon gave me hum for purposes of this review. I’m not a natural techie, but I found this new technology easy to install, easy to understand and easy to use. Normally, I ask my kids or my husband to install any new technology. But hum I installed myself in just a few minutes.

There are three components that make up hum by Verizon:

  • OBD Reader: This small device plugs into your car’s OBD-II (on-board diagnostic) port. It’s the port that mechanics use to diagnose your car. This is the device you will use to know whether your teen driver has violated speed limits or geographic restrictions. It’s also the device that will tell you whether your old car is ready for that long road trip.
  • Speaker: The hum Bluetooth speaker clips to your visor. It gives you one-button access to emergency help and roadside assistance, plus safe, hands-free talking when paired with your smartphone, all incredibly important features when you’re on the road. The emergency help is particularly comforting when you’re driving through unfamiliar territory.
  • Hum app: A portable hub for all things hum. It lets you access diagnostics, maintenance reminders, and vehicle location information right from your smartphone and is available for both Android and iOS.

I learned all of that by watching the short video that came with the device. I hooked up the system, including the app, in 10 minutes. Typically the OBD II port is under the steering wheel, but in some cars (like mine) it might be a little further back or off center. I also needed my VIN number. Since that is not something I have memorized I had to run out to the car to find it, then I remembered that the number is listed on my car insurance card.

This was a very easy and seamless process. 

Road trip hum by Verizon

Here is the process that made the installation easy and quick:

  • Charge the device
  • Download the hum app
  • Watch the instructional video
  • Plug hum equipment into OBD

I think of my car more and more as a piece of technology and not just a mode of transportation. With hum, you will get real-time maintenance alerts and periodic reports on the health status of your vehicle. Much like a computer, without hum, you could have no clue what is really going on inside your car until it’s too late. You can also set maintenance reminders and service reminders in the app. No more guessing when that last oil change was; it’s right at your fingertips. Having a constant diagnostic running gives me peace of mind that we can take the car out on a road trip and not have to worry about a major repair coming up. That increased peace of mind is worth it for sure. The speed alerts are useful, especially if you have a new driver who may not know how heavy their foot is on the gas pedal.

hum by Verizon

Have you ever lost your car in a busy parking lot? No worries; with hum you can easily locate your car with the vehicle locator. I can see this coming in handy during the holidays. I know I have wandered a packed packing lot before.

I loved the peace of mind that hum by Verizon gave me about my vehicle and my teen drivers. Many times we get so caught up our cars are neglected. For me, the diagnostic reports and auto health reports alone are worth the subscription to hum. Nothing scares me more than the thought of a major repair while on the road. Knowing that my teens can be located and assisted while they’re behind the wheel thanks to features like emergency crash detection provides me an added layer of security.