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8 Short Road Trips from Chicago Under 100 Miles

Chicago is a city that is full of great art, architecture, food and has many things to do for residents and tourists alike. It also has a great public transportation system, is walkable, and is very bikeable, increasing the ways to get around the city. Whether you’re visiting the Windy City for a few days or live there and are looking for a little adventure, you might be considering weekend getaways from Chicago. We’ve rounded up eight short road trips from Chicago that are under 100 miles away.

1. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana 

8 Weekend Getaways from Chicago Under 100 Miles | Metromile

If you’re looking for a Chicago getaway that is close by and want to enjoy a natural habitat, consider heading to Indiana Dunes National Park. According to IndianaDunes.com, the locale is home to a whopping 15,000 acres, 350 types of birds, and more than a thousand flowering plants. 

You also get to explore 15 miles of the shoreline and can take advantage of 50 miles of trails. You can go hiking or horseback riding on Glenwood Dunes Trail, relax at Dunbar Beach, and grab a bite at Aaron’s Mortgage Inn. Find more information about Indiana Dunes National Park here. 

Distance from Chicago: 36.2 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 44 minutes 

2. Elgin, Illinois 

Elgin Illinois

Another short Chicago getaway option is to Elgin, located in Northern Illinois as part of the Fox River Valley. You can hike and bike at the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve or explore the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can also see a show at the Hemmens Cultural Center, which is located along the Riverwalk. Grab some pizza at Riverside Pizza and Pub or grab some espresso or a cocktail at Mockingbird Bar + Garden. Find out more information about Elgin here. 

Distance from Chicago: 40.5 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 48 minutes 

3. McHenry County, Illinois 

Mc Henry County

Looking for weekend getaways in Chicago during the winter months? Look no further than McHenry County. You can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice fishing, and more. You can satisfy your sweet tooth at Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard and stay at a beautiful Victorian home at Cherry Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast. Find out more information about McHenry County here. 

Distance from Chicago: 62.8 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 18 minutes 

4. Kenosha, Wisconsin 

Kenosha, Wisconsin

One of the top weekend getaways from Chicago is Kenosha, Wisconsin where you can enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Lake Michigan shoreline. You can enjoy the public art in the city, see the two signature lighthouses, and go by streetcar. 

You can explore the Dinosaur Discovery Museum or have a beach day at Alford Park and Beach or go skiing or snowshoeing in the winter. You can grab your morning coffee at Harborside Common Grounds or enjoy a beer and a bite at Kenosha Brewing Co. (fun fact: 90 years ago, monks in Kenosha mastered the art of creating beer in the same location). Find more information about Kenosha here. 

Distance from Chicago: 66.2 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 13 minutes 

5. Harbor Country, Michigan 

Harbor Country

Can’t decide between a beach or forest getaway? Why not do both in Harbor Country, Michigan. Harbor Country is home to eight towns nestled along Lake Michigan. You can go to Warren Dunes State Park and enjoy hiking, various winter sports, and dunes along the beach. 

You can also enjoy the 105-acre Friendship Botanic Gardens which has trails and playgrounds for kids. Adults can enjoy wine tasting (just be sure to avoid driving to avoid a DUI) and dinner at Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant and can stay at Baymont Inn and Suites. Find more information about Harbor Country here. 

Distance from Chicago: 72.9 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 16 minutes 

6. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva Wi

A top destination for weekend getaways from Chicago is Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. You can ski and do winter sports at Wilmot Mountain or in the summer enjoy Riviera Beach. You can also go ziplining or get your dose of local history at the Geneva Lake Museum.  

If you’re a foodie and want to enjoy the surroundings, head to Frontier Restaurant at Lake Lawn Resort for dinner and stay the night there at Lake Lawn Resort. Find more information about Lake Geneva here. 

Distance from Chicago: 83 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 29 minutes 

7. Rockford, Illinois 

Rockford Il

Ready for a Chicago getaway that is the size of a big city but feels like a small town? Then Rockford is your next destination. If you’re going with kids, check out the Discovery Center Museum. Are you an art lover? Check out Rockford Art Museum

You can also hike, bike, golf, ski, or bird watch at the expansive Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Two must-visits for garden lovers include Anderson Japanese Gardens and ​​Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. You can dine at Abreo and stay at a local hotel or go camping at a nearby campground. Find more information about Rockford here

Distance from Chicago: 88.9 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 33 minutes 

8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee WI

When it comes to road trips from Chicago, Milwaukee is another great destination. You can explore the Milwaukee Art Museum or Milwaukee Public Museum and take a stroll down the Riverwalk and explore local art and breweries. Grab some lunch and a pint at Lakefront Brewery and go golfing, to a casino, biking, and much more. Stay in downtown Milwaukee at ​​Dubbel Dutch. Find more information about Milwaukee here. 

Distance from Chicago: 92.1 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr and 31 minutes 

The bottom line 

If you live in Chicago or are just visiting, you can enjoy these eight destinations if you’re looking for close road trips from Chicago. These options are good weekend getaways from Chicago that you can enjoy in a few days or even if you just want to take a day trip. While on the road, you want to make sure you’re covered and prepared. That can include having the right car insurance. Low-mileage drivers can benefit from pay-per-mile coverage and pay for miles based on how much they drive. Check out a free quote with Metromile and get roadside assistance to stay protected on your road trips. 


​​Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

8 Things You Can Do If Your Car is Stuck in Snow

When getting behind the wheel, it’s important to consider how the weather may impact your driving or the driving conditions that affect your safety. During the colder months of the year — when the air seems to pierce your face with its crispness — snow can fall and become a driving hazard. While snow may be beautiful to look at while you’re cozy next to the fire, it’s not really something you want to be driving in, especially if conditions are severe. But sometimes things happen, and you may find your car stuck in snow, unable to move. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what to do beforehand and how to get a car out of snow.

How to Get Your Car Out of The Snow | Metromile

How to prepare beforehand for driving in snowy weather 

If you live in a snowy climate (hey there, much of the East Coast and Midwest), it’s important to be prepared and drive with the right kind of tires. There are different types of tires available on the market but you still need something more than your standard tire. You need snow tires, to help you navigate icy and snowy terrain. 

Having a car stuck in snow may be due to having the wrong tires. It’s like trying to use a screwdriver when you need a hammer. You need the right kind of tool to help you deal with snow and drive safely. Another thing that can help is having a snow shovel in your trunk in the event you get stuck in snow. 

1. Remove snow surrounding the tires 

Figuring out how to get your car unstuck from snow requires identifying the problem first. In most cases, the primary issue is that the snow acts as a barrier preventing you from moving forward. 

The first step to getting your car unstuck is to remove the snow from surrounding areas of the tire (and this is why a snow shovel will come in handy!). Remove the snow in front of your vehicle and behind your car to make sure you have a runway to drive forward and back up if you need to. 

2. Be gentle with the gas pedal 

If your car is stuck in the snow, you may have the inclination to hit the gas pedal at full speed to get unstuck. That can leave you spinning your wheels, literally. In other words, it’s not a very effective strategy. While it may seem counterintuitive, be gentle with the gas pedal and slowly allow your car to go forward. 

3. Slowly move forward and back up 

When driving in snow conditions, you want to be mindful of your transmission and be delicate with your maneuvers. Put your car in drive with your foot lightly on the gas, then slowly transition and back up your car. Doing so can help shake off some of the snow stuck on your tires. 

4. Put snow chains on your tires 

If you have a car stuck in the snow, one remedy that can help is putting snow chains on your tires. These tire chains can be used in winter to help your tires improve traction in icy and snowy weather conditions. 

If you don’t have them, consider buying some and keeping them in your trunk along with your snow shovel. To learn how to install snow chains correctly and safely, you can watch this tutorial. 

5. Use various materials to boost traction 

When your car is stuck in snow, it’s difficult for the tire to get traction on the road to get moving. The good news is there are various materials you can use to boost traction. These items include:

  • Cat litter (win for all the cat owners!)
  • Dirt
  • Sand

As you can see from this list, these materials are granular and can increase the traction under your tires. Place one of these materials underneath the tires. Then, slowly press the gas to see if you can move forward. If you need something else you might have in the car, you can try out car mats or cardboard you might have on hand. 

Also, if you’re thinking of using other materials to try and melt ice, think again. For example, some substances such as antifreeze or cleaning materials may be poisonous to animals and humans alike. On top of that, it could be illegal or hazardous to do so. 

6. Get a helping hand 

If you have passengers in the car or there are other people nearby, sometimes a little helping hand can go a long way. A little (wo)man power can help move your car and get it unstuck from the snow. 

You want to do this maneuver safely so make sure you’re in drive and put your foot gently on the gas (reverse would be a HUGE mistake!). Have the other people push your car forward to gain momentum. 

7. Release some air from the tires 

Learning how to get your car unstuck from snow requires some trial and error, and some options may work better than others. One option that may work is to release some air from the tires so they’re slightly deflated, in order to gain more traction. 

An important caveat: this is only a good option if you have a tire pump or can fill up your tires with air close by as it can be dangerous to drive on underinflated tires.

8. Get roadside assistance 

If you’ve tried the steps above and your car is still stuck in snow, you might need to call the professionals. That’s where roadside assistance can come in handy. Metromile customers with roadside assistance coverage  can get much-needed help in a bind. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to get your car unstuck from snow can be a daunting process. Though it can be some work, using these eight tips can provide a fix if you find your car stuck in snow. The most important part is to remain calm as possible and slowly and strategically maneuver the car. Lastly, you can see if you can get additional support from your car insurance provider. Metromile offers roadside assistance and coverage that can benefit low-mileage drivers. You pay gas by the gallon, so why not pay for the miles you actually drive? Get your quote today and learn about our various coverage options. 


​​Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Run Out Of Gas? Here’s What To Do Next

If you see that your gas tank is approaching “E”, you may put “fill up the gas tank” on your to-do list and go on with your day. But sometimes life gets in the way, and you may be busy and have forgotten about it. If it’s too late, and you’ve reached the point of no return and you’ve run out of gas, you need to remedy the issue ASAP. Here’s what to do if you run out of gas.

What To Do If You Run Out of Gas | Metromile

Warning signs that you’ve run out of gas

When you’re out of gas, there may not be a dramatic halt notifying you that it’s time to fuel up. But there are plenty of warning signs that you’ve hit the dreaded “E” and should get to safety and fill up ASAP. These include:

  • Vibrations in the car — you may feel your car or steering wheel vibrating 
  • Lack of power or momentum — it may be difficult to accelerate and go forward
  • Odd engine noises — if it feels like your car is going “putt putt putt” and on the struggle bus, it’s time to fill up as your engine is sputtering 

If any of these things are happening or you hear or feel anything else peculiar, it’s likely your car is grasping for fuel to try and keep going. 

Get off the road and turn on emergency blinkers 

It’s one thing to run out of gas. It’s another to have your car lose speed or power and end up inadvertently causing an accident. That’s why it’s crucial to get off the road and pull over somewhere safe. This can be the shoulder or side of the road, out of traffic flow. Once there, turn on your emergency blinkers. 

Identify where you are 

Once you pull over, you may need to leave your car and get gas or notify help where you’re at. Hopefully, your phone has signal, and you can get your GPS location. Look to see if you’re near any particular streets or freeway exits, notable buildings, or memorable location markers. 

Go to the closest gas station 

If you’re wondering what to do if you run out of gas, it makes sense that you need to get gas to fix the issue. That means heading to the closest gas station and buying a gas can to get your car back on the road and moving. 

You can use the Google Maps search function and look up “gas stations.” You can also use GasBuddy.com and use the “Find Gas” tab to see affordable and nearby gas stations. 

Since your car is likely out of commission, you may need to walk or take a ride-sharing service there. Be mindful of the potential hazards of walking if you’re on the highway or a busy intersection or if you’re in a poorly lit or dangerous area. In that case, opting for a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft can help get you there safely. 

Phone a friend 

If you run out of gas, you may want a friendly and familiar face to help you. In that case, phone a friend to see if they can help. Obviously, this option depends on if you have friends or family nearby that are available, but it doesn’t hurt to try. 

Your friends or family can pick you up to get a portable gas can to help you get back on the road. That should be enough to get you to the nearest gas station. 

Call for roadside assistance 

You may be able to get roadside assistance to help you if you’ve run out of gas if you’re a current AAA member or if your car insurance provider offers it. You may be able to access this by calling or using their app, if applicable. Metromile offers roadside assistance as an additional coverage to your car insurance policy to help make sure you’re covered if you get into a situation like this. 

The bottom line 

If you’re out of gas, it can be anxiety-inducing and derail your day or evening. But you can remedy the issue by taking these steps. The most important part is to get to a safe place and get gas quickly so you can move on with your day. To prevent the issue in the future, fill up after the gas tank gets past the halfway mark or set a day per week to fill up so you’re never in danger of running out of gas. 

Also, see if your insurance provider offers roadside assistance if such an incident should arise. Metromile offers roadside assistance coverage and affordable rates for low-mileage drivers. If you drive here and there or mostly for errands, making the switch can lower your car insurance costs. If you’re still paying a flat rate for coverage and paying for miles you don’t drive, it’s time to re-think your auto insurance. Get a quote with Metromile today. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How Much Does Insurance Go Up After a Speeding Ticket

If you’re driving on the road, you want to keep pace with the flow of traffic. But sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly, you go faster than the stated speed limit in that particular area. In either case, the consequence can be the same — you may be hit with a speeding ticket. You can beg, cry, plead, or tell the officer you’re rushing to work. The officer may show some grace and let you off with a warning, but if not, you’ll have to deal with a speeding ticket. But then the questions start to arise. Do speeding tickets affect insurance? How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket? In this brief guide, we break down what to know about speeding tickets and car insurance

How a Speeding Ticket Affects Your Car Insurance | Metromile

Do speeding tickets affect insurance? 

It’s no secret that speeding tickets aren’t exactly cheap. The average speeding ticket cost in California could be several hundred dollars after fees and such for an initial $35 base fine. That’s not even close to some of the costs in other parts of the country (Virginia reportedly has the highest penalties, with citations that can cost upwards of $1,000!). 

But that initial sting of the ticket itself is just part of the overall financial repercussions. If you’re wondering, “Do speeding tickets affect insurance?” the answer is most likely “yes”. When you get a speeding ticket, you may get a point on your license, which is added to your driving record. If this is your first speeding ticket, you may be able to go to traffic school and get the point taken off your record without affecting your insurance. But that’s not always the case.  

A major factor in determining your insurance rate is your driving record, and that includes traffic violations like speeding tickets. The more tickets you have, the more likely your insurance rates will rise. 

Here’s how a speeding ticket may affect your car insurance: 

  • Your car insurance premium may increase at the time of renewal.
  • Rates could increase for several years. 
  • Whether your rate increases can depend on the speed, location, and state. 
  • You may lose out on a “good driver” discount or other relevant discounts.
  • If your driving record has a lot on it and it’s pretty serious — and a speeding ticket is just the icing on the cake — it may be difficult to get car insurance from a private company. If that’s the case, you can see if your state provides government auto insurance. 

Why do car insurance rates go up after a speeding ticket? 

Your driving record helps insurers understand how much of a risk you might be on the road. And guess what determines your driving record in addition to accidents and minor fender benders? Yep, speeding tickets. 

Speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents. So when you engage in this risky driving behavior, it’s natural for your insurance company to take this additional risk factor into account. If you rack up multiple speeding tickets, it can have a more significant impact on your rates. 

The (kind of) good news is that according to an analysis from The Zebra, speeding tickets are the least costly kind of traffic violations when it comes to insurance rates. But the potential price hike can still be significant. If you’re worried about how much does insurance goes up after a speeding ticket, on average, it’s $354 per year according to an analysis by financial site NerdWallet. Not exactly a small amount. 

The thing about speeding is that it’s not a black and white issue — a driver may be caught speeding a few miles over the limit or far past the limit. In other words, there’s a lot of room for nuance and going 5 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit is different than going 25 to 50 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

The severity may be reflected in your speeding ticket and your car insurance rate hike. It all depends on how your state treats speeding tickets and the limits, as well as your car insurance provider. 

Each car insurance provider may treat a speeding ticket differently. While some companies only increase rates if a driver receives a ticket for going more than 15 mph over the posted limit, other companies may not increase the rate at all if it’s a first-time offense.

Of course, having multiple traffic violations, including speeding tickets can add points to your driving record. That may mean you could be at risk for sky-high insurance premiums. In the worst case, you may get your license revoked or suspended. 

Here’s where you can take a deep breath though — traffic violations don’t permanently affect your insurance rates. So if you think speeding tickets will be on your driving record forever and lead to crazy expensive rate hikes for eternity, think again. 

Most companies examine your list of traffic violations over the last three to five years when determining your rate, and once a ticket is removed from your driving record (this varies by state, but most states take away the points after three years), insurance companies can no longer hold the infraction against you (phew!). 

What can you do to lower car insurance premiums after a speeding ticket? 

If your primary concern is about cost it’s natural to wonder how much does a speeding ticket raise insurance? Just how much it increases can depend on your driving history and insurer, but there may be some ways to lower car insurance premiums after a speeding ticket. 

The first thing you want to do is see if you qualify for a defensive driving course so you can avoid getting a point added to your record. If so, then that’s a big win and can save you money in the long run. You’ll still have to pay for traffic school though and the ticket plus any associated fees. 

Next, commit to being a safe driver and be more mindful of speed while on the road. One speeding ticket isn’t the end of the world but racking up plenty more won’t do you any favors in the cost-savings department. 

You also want to see if the speeding ticket will affect your car insurance premium or not. If you have a good driving history and this is a one-off thing on a spotless record, your insurance company may not take any action. 

However, if your insurance company does raise your car insurance premium it may be for several years. Depending on the increase and your preference, it may be good to shop around and look at other coverage options. 

The bottom line

After getting hit with a speeding ticket you may worry and wonder how much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?! It may be several hundred dollars, depending on your record, your insurer and if you can take defensive driving or not. Though it can be costly, a one-time thing is like a warning from the universe to slow down. 


Going forward, be aware of the speed limit in the area you’re driving. In the best case scenario, you won’t have a premium increase. If your car insurance premium does rise, look into getting other car insurance coverage. Low-mileage drivers can take advantage of pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile. You do things like pay for gas by the gallon. So why not pay for miles based on how much you drive? It’s car insurance that makes sense. Grab a complimentary quote with Metromile to see about potential savings.

Behind the Scenes with Jeff Rutledge

At Metromile, Jeff Rutledge is able to combine two of his professional interests: financial technology (aka fintech) and employee engagement. Outside of work, Jeff is active with his family, pets, and pizza making. We talked to Jeff about nurturing employees, encouraging innovation, and the Metromile values that inspire him the most.

Life at Metromile: Working and Parenting

What brought you to Metromile?

I’ve had a long-time, kind of geeky interest in fintech. When I was ready to leave my previous role, I decided to try to get my foot in the fintech door. One day I was on LinkedIn and I saw that a former colleague of mine worked at Metromile. So I reached out and we just started talking. We had an ongoing conversation for a number of months that ended with me coming aboard. 

What does your role entail? 

There are only three of us on the communications team right now, which means we’re often working collaboratively and not sticking to a super tightly defined niche. But I do spend a lot of time on internal communications and how we can continue to engage and inspire Metromilers, and counsel our leaders on how they can do the same. That means asking questions like: How does the way we interact with and speak to employees affect things like retention and productivity? How can we celebrate every employee’s contribution? How can we help ensure everyone’s aligned on the same goals?

What do you like most about working at Metromile? 

One of the best things about working at Metromile is that if there’s something I’m interested in, I can go after it. For me, this recently led to a cross-functional project with our Data Science team in which we were able to quantify how traffic has changed post-COVID using data that nobody else has. Because we’re a growing company, there’s a lot of ground that hasn’t yet been claimed. I’m encouraged to step out of my comfort zone and embrace my creativity in the workplace. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons people love working here—there’s always room to experiment and try new things. 

One of the Metromile values I’m attracted to is “be outcome oriented,” meaning we prioritize the outcome of someone’s efforts rather than the hours logged to get there. Ingraining this idea into our core values has helped us promote work-life balance, and of course, that’s meant a lot in a remote setting, too. It’s not uncommon to look for a meeting time with someone and see calendar holds for a school pick up or bedtime or things like that. I don’t feel pressure to prioritize work over home life or neglect family commitments. I think that’s pretty telling of the overall culture here, in the best way possible. 

I have a daughter, and I love working somewhere where I’m not constantly making the hard choice between being an employee and being a dad. (I think other Metromilers would agree—we have a Slack channel called #metro-parent where we share tips, advice, and funny things our kids say. I think the dog and cat parents feel the same way, too!)

What advice would you give to job seekers interested in Metromile?

If you want your work to have an impact, this is a great place to be. Many of our engineers have told me that they chose Metromile over other options because they wanted a chance to see their work in the market and have a broad scope of impact.

So the work is important and engaging, but at the same time, there’s an understanding that you’re a human being with other interests. The number of nights I spend working late is pretty few because I can measure my impact and value based on the quality of outcomes, not the quantity of inputs. I’ve found that regardless of the team you’re on, you can contribute to company-wide success and still have a personal life. 

What do you do for fun? 

I mentioned my daughter—she’s seven years old, and a ton of fun to hang with. I’m really into movies, particularly science fiction. And I bake bread and make pizza. Pizza is my love language. 

8 Weekend Getaways from Portland Under 100 Miles

Portland is home to an amazing array of restaurants, breweries, wineries, parks, and has some of the best public transportation and is very bike-friendly. Whether you live in Portland or are planning to visit, there are many things you can do in the city. But sometimes you want to explore attractions and locations nearby for a change of scenery. If you’re looking for weekend trips from Portland that aren’t too far away, here are 8 getaways from Portland that are less than 100 miles away.

1. McMinnville

McMinnville

Oregon is well-known for its wine country in the Willamette Valley. There are many areas to explore, but one of the top places to get your wine fix and experience what it has to offer is McMinnville. According to the city’s tourism website, McMinnville is the “heart of Oregon’s wine country”. You can explore a 100-year old farmhouse and get a wine tasting at Dominio IV Wines and stay at McMenamins Hotel Oregon, a unique and eccentric chain of establishments. Get some pizza from 3rd Street Pizza Co and go for a walk at Wortman Park. Find more information about McMinnville here. 

Distance from Portland: 32 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 57 minutes 

2. Silverton

Silverton,OR

Are you looking for a small-town adventure with charm and majestic beauty? Look no further than Silverton, also known as “Oregon’s Garden City”, which was established in 1854. Silverton is one of the top weekend trips from Portland as it’s home to Silver Falls Park, a lush and cascading waterfall and park. Don’t miss the 177-foot South Falls waterfall and feel free to hike around the park or even camp there or have a barbeque. You can stay at the quaint Oregon Garden Resort and get dinner at The Gallon House. Find more information about Silverton here.

Distance from Portland: 41.1 miles

How long it takes to get there one-way: 53 minutes

3. Salem 

Salem,OR

Want to visit the Oregon capital as one of your weekend getaways from Portland? Then add Salem to the list. According to the tourism website Travel Salem, the location is “The most Oregon part of Oregon.” You can enjoy the Riverfront Park, check out the Oregon State Capitol, and get your flower fix at the Adelman Peony Gardens. You can sip wine at Redhawk Winery and eat Italian food at Gamberetti’s. Find more information about Salem here. 

Distance from Portland: 46.1 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 49 minutes 

4. Columbia River Gorge 

Columbia River Gorge OR

For residents and tourists alike, one of the top weekend getaways from Portland is the stunning Columbia River Gorge. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Columbia River Gorge is a whopping 80 miles long and 4,000 feet deep. While there, you can see the tallest waterfall in Oregon at Multnomah Falls, which is a sight to behold. You can also see gorgeous views of the river from the Crown Point Vista House.  You can also check out the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and hike the Angel’s Rest Trail. Find more information about the Columbia River Gorge here. 

Distance from Portland: 54.9 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr, 4 minutes 

5. Hood River 

Hood river Oregon

Just a short drive from Portland is Hood River, a city full of zest and adventure. Whether it’s winter or summer, there are many outdoor activities to enjoy. You can rent a raft or a motorcycle or even go windsurfing (Fun fact, according to Travel Oregon Hood River is the windsurfing capital of the world). You can also grab a bite and brew at Solstice Woodfire Cafe and try out a craft beer at pFriem Family Brewers. For something unique, check out the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum. Find more information about Hood River here. 

Distance from Portland: 62 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr, 2 minutes 

6. Mount Hood 

Mount Hood Oregon

While in Portland, you can see the iconic and snow-crested Mount Hood in the distance. In colder months, Mount Hood is a ski haven and ideal for snow adventurers. You can plan a trip to Mount Hood Meadows here and stay at the legendary locale, The Timberline Lodge. While there, you can enjoy a beer and food at Mt Hood Brewing. Find more information about Mount Hood here.    

Distance from Portland: 68.4 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr 37 minutes 

7. Cannon Beach 

Cannon Beach Oregon

Portland may rain for much of the year but the summertime is nearly perfect. When it gets hot, it’s fun to go for a drive and take a beach day. One of the best getaways from Portland is Cannon Beach. There you can see the signature Haystack Rock and grab some lunch at local favorite Bill’s Tavern & Brewhouse or the Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge. You can go on a public art walking tour or shop from the many boutiques and stores in the area. Cannon Beach is one of the best weekend trips from Portland, especially in the summer. Need a place to stay? Check out Ecola Inn. Find more information about Cannon Beach here. 

Distance from Portland: 79.2 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr 31 minutes 

8. Astoria 

Astoria Oregon

The Oregon coast is breathtaking and has numerous options for weekend getaways in Portland. If you want a quirky beach town, head to Astoria. You can go to the historic site, The Astoria Column, and grab lunch at Fort George Brewery. Head to the Oregon Film Museum and see where they shot part of The Goonies or enjoy a bit of history and architecture at the Flavel House Museum. You can also enjoy nature and recreation at the historic Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Find more information about Astoria here. 

Distance from Portland: 97.6 miles 

How long it takes to get there one-way: 1 hr 45 minutes 

The bottom line 

If you’re looking for a getaway from Portland, check out these eight options. Whether you’re more outdoorsy or more epicurean, you have various options to choose from. Go for a day trip or as part of weekend trips from Portland. While you’re preparing to head out on the road, make sure you’re covered with the right car insurance. Metromile offers drivers in Oregon pay-per-mile coverage, which can help lower costs. Want car insurance that feels more fair and straightforward? Grab a free quote from Metromile to see if it’s the right fit for you. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

The Top 8 Causes of Car Accidents Involving Fatal Crashes

Driving can be something you do to get from point A to point B or something you do for leisure and to experience the open road. But in a few seconds, one wrong move on your part or another driver’s part, and there could be a car accident. As of 2021, fatalities due to car crashes are on the rise. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crash deaths increased 18.4% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same timeframe in 2020, amounting to 20,160 fatalities. This surge in crash fatalities is concerning, and as a driver, you should take a proactive role in minimizing your risk. We’ve outlined the top causes of car accidents involved in fatal crashes based on NHTSA data analyzed by the Insurance Information Institute.

1. Driving too fast 

If you’re wondering what is the most common cause of collisions, it’s driving too fast aka speeding. Any time you drive, there is a level of risk. But your speed can make a big difference in whether you get into an accident or not. 

If you’re driving within the speed limit and have to stop abruptly, you may have time to brake fast if you need to. If you’re speeding? You may not be as lucky. Driving too fast or speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents. During the pandemic, speeding is also on the rise

According to NHTSA data, average speeds increased overall in 2020 during the pandemic. Additionally, “extreme speeds” defined as 20 miles per hour over the limit or more increased as well, contributing to an 11% boost in fatalities that were related to speeding. 

Speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents and fatalities. As of 2019, 17.2% of fatal crashes were due to speeding among 8,746 drivers. So before rushing off somewhere or hitting the gas pedal too hard, slow down. It’s not worth your life or others. 

2. Driving under the influence of substances 

The second leading cause of car accidents in fatal crashes is driving under the influence of substances. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or medication, these substances can impair your cognition and ability to drive. As of 2019, this made up 10.1% of fatal crashes among 5,164 drivers. 

Unfortunately, substance abuse has increased in the pandemic, and it’s affecting driver behavior as well. Current 2020 data shows that about two-thirds of drivers who were injured or killed in a car crash had a substance such as alcohol, marijuana, or opioids in their system between Mid-March and Mid-July of 2020. What’s more concerning is that opioid use in drivers doubled after the pandemic, and marijuana use increased close to 50%

Getting a DUI or DWI can be expensive and can also cost you your life and endanger others. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and medication before getting behind the wheel. Consider  taking  a ride-sharing service such as Lyft or Uber or a cab if you’re not okay to drive. 

3. Failure to yield 

Another common car accident culprit is failure to yield or give the right of way. When driving, it’s a delicate dance with other drivers, and you must yield or give the right of way to other drivers in certain situations. 

That means pulling over when an emergency vehicle is coming and giving the right of way to pedestrians. It also means that you give the other person the right of way if they were there first when you’re at an intersection. Failing to yield or offer the right of way can lead to car crashes, causing 7.3% of fatal crashes in 2019 among 3,728 drivers. 

4. Not staying in the appropriate lane 

Have you ever seen a driver straddling the lines of two lanes, and you think to yourself ‘Stay in your lane!” Well, as you can imagine, that’s an accident waiting to happen. “Failure to keep in proper lane” was the fourth common cause of fatal crashes in 2019. 

This driving behavior led to 6.6% of fatal car crashes among 3,381 drivers. If you find yourself veering off to another lane, get back into your lane and when appropriate, turn on your signal and change lanes when the coast is clear. 

5. Careless driving 

Driving safely requires you to balance your focus, speed, and navigate transitions seamlessly. Drivers who are careless can be a danger and cause accidents. 

Some examples of this can include not paying attention, following too closely, hitting traffic lights or stop signs, and more. This was the fifth most common cause of car accidents in fatal crashes as of 2019, making up 6.5% of incidents among 3,302 drivers. 

6. Driving while distracted 

There are so many ways to be distracted these days. You hear a ping on your phone that you got a text message. You get an alert from one of your apps. Your friend calls you to catch up while you’re driving. Your cell phone can be a leading cause of distracted driving and cause accidents. 

Aside from that, you could be distracted because you’re trying to cram a breakfast sandwich in your mouth or trying to put on mascara at a stop light while driving. Distracted driving (defined as caused by phone, talking, eating, object, etc.) caused 5.9% of fatal crashes in 2019 among 3,008 drivers. 

7. Not adhering to traffic signs and signals 

Stop signs and traffic lights are in place for the safety of all drivers. They help guide drivers and help the flow of traffic. If you fail to comply with traffic signs and signals, it could be a danger to yourself and other drivers. 

Running through a stop sign or trying to make it as the light turns red or just straight up running a red light, can cause fatal car crashes. These types of accidents made up 4% of fatal crashes in 2019 among 2,054 drivers. 

8. Erratic or reckless driving 

Certain car behaviors like erratic or reckless driving can also cause car accidents. Think of drivers swerving, weaving in and out of lanes without regard to other drivers, tailgating, or changing lanes without looking. 

All of these behaviors are incredibly risky, and as of 2019 “Operating vehicle in erratic, reckless or negligent manner” led to 3.7% of fatal crashes among 1,880 drivers. 

Other causes of car accidents

We’ve outlined the top eight causes of car crashes based on NHTSA data analyzed by the Insurance Information Institute. So if you’ve been curious about which is the most common cause of traffic crashes, now you know. 

Below is the chart that includes the remaining causes including overcorrecting and oversteering, vision obscured due to rain, snow, lights, etc, being drowsy, driving the wrong way, swerving due to weather, making a wrong turn, and other factors not described. 

Source/credit: Insurance Information Institute (III) 

The bottom line 

If you’re wondering what is the most common cause of collisions, currently it is speeding. As you can see on the list, there are various other causes of car accidents that can lead to fatal car crashes. 

Not all accidents are fatal, some are simply fender benders, but no one wants to deal with the headache of a car accident and filing a claim. That’s why it’s key to drive safely and focus on the road and make sure you have the right car insurance coverage. If you’re a low-mileage driver, pay-per-mile auto insurance may be the best option for your budget and lifestyle. Why pay more when you can pay for just the miles you drive, along with a low base rate? Get your free quote to see if it’s the right option for you. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How To Stay Awake When Driving For Your Safety and Others

You’re driving down the road, and your eyelids feel heavy. Fatigue washes over you, and you feel how difficult it is to keep your eyes open and your mind focused as you try not to doze off. You might attempt to push through, but you should reconsider. Driving while drowsy can be extremely dangerous. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that driving while sleep-deprived can be just as dangerous  as driving drunk or intoxicated. On top of that, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 697 fatalities as of 2019 from crashes where driving drowsy was the primary culprit. Though sleepy driving doesn’t always lead to death, NHTSA data from 2017 reports that 91,000 crashes that were reported to police involved driving while drowsy. These incidents can be prevented by taking some strategic steps. Here’s how to stay awake while driving and reduce your risk of accidents.

How to Stay Awake While Driving and Avoid Accidents | Metromile

1. Drink some water 

Did you know that the body is up to 60% water, and your brain that helps you think and focus is 73% water? It’s true, according to data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).  So to help with your alertness levels, it’s time to hydrate! Some research shows that hydrating with water can improve alertness levels. 

2. Boost your caffeine intake

If you’re okay handling caffeine, you might consider grabbing some coffee, a Red Bull, tea, or another caffeinated beverage of your choice. In fact, one study showed that one cup of coffee had a positive impact on driving performance while fatigued. 

3. Drink peppermint or ginger tea 

If you can’t have caffeine for health or personal reasons, consider drinking specific herbal teas like peppermint or ginger tea. The fresh mintiness of peppermint can be invigorating, and the sweet spiciness of ginger can boost alertness. 

4. Pull over for a power nap 

If you’re driving while tired, you want to figure out how to stay awake when driving. But sometimes, your efforts are futile, and it’s best to give in to a little rest. Consider pulling over in a safe and appropriate place like a rest area (not the shoulder!) for a power nap of 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is a good amount of time for a little energy boost without too much grogginess upon waking. 

5. Switch drivers, if possible 

If you’re not riding solo and have company in the car with you that is of driving age and can legally drive, see about switching with them for a while. See if they can go from passenger to driver while you go from driver to passenger so you can get a little shut-eye. 

6. Make frequent pit stops 

When you’re trying to go somewhere, and extremely tired, it can feel counterproductive to take frequent pit stops. But just like taking breaks is good for you throughout the workday, making frequent pit stops is also good for you when you’re drowsy. No need to rush or power through. The RoadTripExpert recommends taking a 15-minute break for every two hours of driving. Get some water and stretch. 

7. Put your windows down, turn your music up 

Driving, especially on road trips, can be monotonous depending on the road (looking at you Interstate 5 from LA to SF). It can seem like one long stretch with little to no variety, which can add to the fatigue. That’s where you need to figure out how to stay awake on long drives. One way to boost your energy is to engage the senses. Put your windows down and turn your music up. Feeling the fresh air on your face may wake you up and the music can help pump you up. 

8. Get your body moving 

Driving a lot can also mean staying in the same position for an extended period of time. If you’re tired, make a pit stop to get your body moving. Stretch your arms and legs, roll your neck, do some push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks. In fact, exercise may help boost your body temperature and help wake you up a bit. 

9. Snack on whole foods 

When you’re sleepy, grabbing that candy bar can seem attractive to get that loaded sugar rush. But you may be better off eating whole foods like vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Think of apples, bananas, almonds, peanuts, and jerky to help you feel nourished. 

10. Improve your posture 

If you’re drowsy, you may be slouching and holding onto the steering wheel in a sloppy fashion. If you want to figure out how to stay awake when driving, perk up and sit tall. Improve your posture, so your spine is straight, and keep both hands firmly on the wheel. Better posture can help boost your energy levels, helping you stay alert and awake. 

11. Avoid driving during peak drowsy driving hours 

According to NHTSA, drowsy driving car crashes happen at two peak times:

  1. Between midnight and 6am
  2. In the late afternoon

During these periods, it’s normal to have your energy dip. In the middle of the night, many people are used to sleeping so it can be somewhat unnatural and dangerous to drive during this time. If possible, avoid these timeframes while driving and stick to when your energy is the highest. 

12. Be mindful of food, drink, and medication that can make you sleepy 

In order to figure out how to stay awake on long drives, it’s crucial to be mindful of the food, drink, and medication you’re consuming before you get behind the wheel. For example, though a big serving of fettuccine alfredo or turkey may sound good, those dishes may make you sleepy. 

You also don’t want to consume any alcohol (also, that could lead to a DUI, which is costly and damaging, and potentially life-threatening for you and others). Additionally, if you’re on specific medications such as Xanax that can make you sleepy, you want to avoid that right before hitting the road. 

13. Consider chewing gum to combat fatigue 

If you’re feeling fatigued, it may seem odd to chew gum. But one study has shown that chewing gum alleviates some fatigue if you’re experiencing sleep deprivation. Additionally, chewing gum can help prevent yawning as well

The bottom line 

If you’re tired behind the wheel, consider these 13 tips on how to stay awake while driving. Drowsy driving can be serious and dangerous for you and others so take precautions to make sure you’re safe. 

As part of your car safety plan, make sure you have the right car insurance coverage for your needs. If you’re a low-mileage driver, it might be time to re-think your auto insurance. Using Metromile, you can pay a low base rate and pay for the miles you drive, and nothing more. Get a free quote today



Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Here’s How Much a Speeding Ticket Costs in California

If you get pulled over for speeding in the Golden State, you may get hit with a ticket. If you’re lucky, you may get off with a warning. But if luck isn’t on your side, then you want to make moves to deal with the ticket and prepare for the consequences. In this brief guide, we’ll cover the speeding ticket cost in California and the impact it can have on your car insurance premium.

How Much Is A Speeding Ticket in California? | Metromile

How much does a speeding ticket cost in the state of California? 

If you’re wondering how much is a speeding ticket in California, it depends on how fast you were going as well as the location, such as speeding in a school zone or construction zone. On top of that, there may be additional charges and fees that can add up fast, making California one of the costliest places to get a speeding ticket

According to California Courts — The Judicial Branch of California’s website, a speeding ticket fine, plus fees and potential penalties could cost $490 or even more. But how much you’ll pay in total can vary. Let’s take a look at the California speeding ticket base fine breakdown:

  • 1 to 15 MPH over speed limit = $35
  • 15 to 25 MPH over speed limit = $70 
  • Over 25 MPH over speed limit = $100 
  • Over 100 MPH = $200 

These base rates are just the starting point and can increase by $35 if you’re found to be in a construction zone. According to an April 2018 Report on Penalty Assessment Funds, “​​Traffic infractions are generally minor offenses not punishable by time in jail but by a base fine of up to $100, and they include offenses such as speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign.”

The report also explains that you may be hit with a base fine, a penalty, or a surcharge which is added as part of the punishment, and a fee or assessment that helps recoup administrative and court costs. On top of that, the state of California adds a 20% state surcharge to base fines as well. 

Let’s take a look at some potential fees that can be added to your traffic violation for speeding. 

Source/credit: pg 11 Penalty Assessment Funds Report 

So in total, the maximum speeding ticket you get in California could range from $238 to $900, according to TicketClinic.com. If you get a ticket and have to pay a hefty speeding ticket fine, you may be able to request a payment plan, reduction, or community service here. 

How to proceed after getting a speeding ticket in California 

If you get a speeding ticket in California, you’ll get a “Notice to Appear” in court and will need to take action before that time. Your options include:

  • Pleading guilty to speeding and paying the ticket. You may be able to pay the ticket online and be done with the case. You’ll typically have one point added to your license, which may impact your car insurance premium. 
  • Pay for and attend traffic school as well as pay any fines. Going to traffic school can avoid points on your record, but you must be eligible to do so. This is typically granted for first-time offenders. 
  • Go to court on your court date, where you may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. 

It’s important to take one of these steps so you can deal with the speeding ticket and prepare for any potential consequences. Your best bet is likely traffic school if you qualify for that option, as it could potentially save you money in insurance in the long run. 

Your car insurance may go up after getting a speeding ticket in California 

Getting a speeding ticket in California is no fun. It can be costly with the fine and fees and can add up even more when you take into account your insurance costs. If you get a point on your record for speeding it may not affect you that much —  but you may  be seen as a risk to your insurer, and your rates could potentially go up. It’s not something to worry about too much, but something to be aware of.  

According to Bankrate, if you’re 18 years of age and have full coverage and get a speeding ticket in California, your premium may rise 20%. If you’re 40 years of age and have full coverage and get a speeding ticket in California, your premium may rise 36%. 

Of course how much it goes up can depend on your age, previous driving history, and car insurance provider. If your rates go up significantly it might be time to shop around to see if there are more affordable and better options suited for you. 

The bottom line 

As you can see, the speeding ticket cost in California isn’t exactly cheap. Among all the fees, it adds up fast. If you take into consideration the rising insurance premiums, it can be an expensive blunder. So if you’re wondering how much is a speeding ticket in California, it can vary. 

If you can, go to traffic school to avoid points being added to your license. If that’s not an option, take care of the speeding ticket in California and if your rates increase, you can shop  around for new insurance. If you don’t drive that much, pay-per-mile coverage may be the best fit for you. You pay for gas by the gallon, so why not pay for miles based on how much you truly drive? See how much you can save with Metromile and get your quote today. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What You Should Know About Subrogation Insurance Claims

Getting into a car accident and filing a claim can mean dealing with your insurance provider to cover costs as part of the incident. During this process, you may come across a funny word called “subrogation.” In this guide, we’re breaking down what subrogation in insurance means and how it works.

What is Subrogation in Insurance? | Metromile

What is a subrogation insurance claim? 

If you’re dealing with a claim and see “subrogation”, it’s natural to wonder what is subrogation in insurance. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, subrogation is “the assumption by a third party (such as a second creditor or an insurance company) of another’s legal right to collect a debt or damages.” (fun fact: this term was first used in the 15th century, notes Merriam-Webster). 

In other words, subrogation is the legal process that allows your insurance provider to act on your behalf to recoup costs related to an accident from a third party, such as another insurance company. 

When does subrogation happen? 

When you file a claim after an accident, your insurance company will work with you to determine who is at fault and what is or is not covered as part of the accident. If the other driver is at fault, your insurance provider can act on your behalf to recover costs from the other party’s insurance company. 

Let’s say you get into an accident where you’re not found at fault and need to make repairs and cover potential medical bills ASAP, but the process is held up with the other party’s car insurance. In that case, your car insurance provider will typically cover those expenses upfront to make the process smoother and more efficient. 

Subrogation will then occur and your car insurance provider will seek to recoup the expenses related to the accident, including the deductible, car repair costs, and medical expenses, if applicable. 

Through subrogation in insurance, you as the policyholder can file your claim and move on faster, while your insurance company does the heavy lifting to recover costs. 

Does subrogation occur when it’s not clear who’s at fault? 

Subrogation in auto insurance happens when your car insurance provider seeks payment for expenses already paid from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. So what happens if it’s not fully clear who’s at fault in the accident? While some accidents may have a clear-cut cause and party who is “at fault”, not all do. 

In this case, what happens next can vary by your car insurance policy as well as the state you live in. For example, you might pay your deductible, and your car insurance provider may pay out the remaining expenses. 

It’s also possible that your car insurance provider can go the subrogation route to recover some costs if you’re not 100 percent at fault. Through subrogation, it’s possible to get your deductible cost paid back as well on top of the other costs the insurer paid. 

How long does an insurance company have to subrogate?

The subrogation process can vary but largely happens between the two car insurance providers. Your car insurance provider supports you in your claim and through subrogation, they aim to get reimbursed for expenses when the fault is determined. It could take months or even longer to determine who is at fault in some cases, so subrogation benefits the policyholder and helps the insurance provider recover funds related to a claim. 

If you’re curious how long does an insurance company have to subrogate, it depends on the state’s statute of limitations. 

According to Legal Beagle, “When an insurance carrier or other entity pays a claim for an injured client that is not at fault for their injuries, the insurance company may then attempt to recoup payments from the party that is at fault for the incident. The process of recouping paid claims is called subrogation. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, indicating the length of time after an incident an insurance company may file a subrogation claim.”

Legal Beagle notes that most states have one to six years to file subrogation insurance claims. 

What a waiver of subrogation means (and what to be aware of) 

During the subrogation process, your insurance provider acts on your behalf to recover costs based on your claim from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your insurance company does the hard part, and you don’t have to think about it too much. 

But if the at-fault party would like to settle the claim with you directly and without insurance interference, then you’ll need to sign a waiver of subrogation. 

A waiver of subrogation is forfeiting the ability for your insurance company to recover costs. Because the other party wants to settle, a waiver of subrogation signs your rights away so that the insurance company doesn’t have any legal right to get reimbursed. 

Obviously, this is a pretty big deal, so it’s important to discuss with your insurance carrier before making any decisions or moving forward with a waiver of subrogation. 

The bottom line 

Subrogation insurance claims mostly involve your insurance provider, but it’s good to be aware of what this process is and how it works. It’s especially important to be mindful if you’re considering signing a waiver of subrogation. Be sure to stay in touch with your insurance provider if you have questions about your claim or if you’re thinking of settling and signing a waiver. 

If you want to check out different car insurance options, consider pay-per-mile car insurance, ideally suited for low-mileage drivers. Why pay more than you need to, when you can simply pay for the miles you drive? Get car insurance that makes sense and never pay more than you should. Get a quote for pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile today. 


​​Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.