The Unexpected Factors Distracting Drivers & How to Avoid Them

 

Distracted driving is such a deadly crisis that there’s an entire month dedicated to preventing it. Every April, the National Safety Council and other orgs participate in educating people on ways to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving — so let’s all do our part, too.

According to a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, more than 65,000 people were killed in car crashes in a two-year period. Of those, one in ten involved at least one distracted driver.

“Distracted” driving means the person behind the wheel is engaging in some kind of activity that diverts their attention from the road, and experts believe about 12% of distracted drivers are focusing on their phones at the time of deadly accidents. But if just a sliver of drivers are suspected of talking, listening, texting, or dialing at the time of a crash, what else is messing with drivers’ focus?

 

Research shows that everything from in-dash navigation and music apps to food choices and even your imagination can threaten to derail your attention. The good news is, knowing the common concentration traps can help you sharpen your focus behind the wheel.

Added bonus: being a safe driver can help your insurance rates. Distracted driving not only puts your safety and the safety of others at risk, it also has the potential to drive up your insurance rates. According to The Zebra’s 2018 Distracted Driving Report, being ticketed for texting or using your cell phone while driving can raise your rates by 16% — about $226 — per year.

 

Here are strategies for combating three of the biggest concentration-hijacking culprits so you can stay safe on the road:  

 

The distraction: Daydreaming. This one’s hard to stomach, but it’s true — according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 62% of distracted drivers “were generally distracted, inattentive, or ‘lost in thought,’” otherwise known as “daydreaming.”

 

The solution: While there’s certainly no way to turn your mind off (thankfully), there are ways you can keep your brain alert, even on the most monotonous routes. A few ideas from Popular Mechanics: keep your eyes moving every few seconds to avoid mind wandering, chew some gum or find some crunchy snacks to keep you in the present moment, and stay on your toes by imagining “what-if” scenarios (i.e. what you would do if an oncoming car unexpectedly crossed into your lane, etc.). Another way to avoid boredom-induced mind-wandering: experiment with different routes to stay engaged.

 

 

The distraction: Sleepiness. We can’t really control our mind’s natural inclination to wander, but we can control how much rest we’re getting. Drowsy driving is no joke —  sleep deprivation can have similar effects on the body as alcohol. And you don’t have to be clocking zero hours to qualify as “sleep deprived” — research shows that getting less than five hours is the same as driving drunk.

 

The solution: Do your best to get some sleep before you get behind the wheel. Sometimes it can be hard to gauge just how tired you are when you’re in the middle of a long drive, but there are telltale signs that you need to remove yourself from the road, such as trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last bit of road you drove. constant yawning, drifting lanes, and/or bobbing your head.

So what do you do if you’re en route and start to feel sleepy? If you’re driving solo and don’t have a passenger to take over, find the nearest safe spot to take a break and get rejuvenated — even if it’s just to hit a coffee shop or make a gas stop. Need a longer break? Try an app like DayUse to find a discounted nap destination.

 

 

The distraction: Eating, drinking, or smoking. According to the same research, a percentage of distracted drivers were paying more attention to their food, drinks, cigarettes, or other similar non-driving-related items when they should have been fully focused on the road.

 

The solution: The easy fix is to eliminate all these activities in the car. Yes, we mentioned that crunchy snacks might help you stay alert, and hydration is important (can’t speak on how essential that smoking habit is, though). But chowing down on a full meal or futzing with a beverage while navigating the road is another story. Do your best to eat meals outside of the car, and limit non-driving related actions that require even some hand-eye coordination.

Looking for more ways to stay safe behind the wheel? Visit our blog or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Is It Safe To Listen To Music or Podcasts While Driving?

 

During my senior year of college, I spent a lot of time behind the wheel. My school was about 90 minutes from home, and about the same distance from my boyfriend’s house. Seeing as how this was long before the days of streaming music services, a bright-eyed, just-turned-twenty-one-year-old in the early-aughts had just one option: to play Ashlee Simpson’s “Autobiography” CD on repeat.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the only option available, but I sincerely loved that album and blasting it through the speakers of my slowly deteriorating Ford Taurus made my time on the road fly by. Maybe saccharine sweet pop posing as punk rock was never your cup of tea, but it’s safe to assume most drivers rely on their radios or digital devices to supply on-the-road motivation in the form of music. The question is whether lip-synching to our favorite tunes is actually making us tune out behind the wheel.

 

What Science Has to Say

 

The truth is, there’s a lot of conflicting evidence on the effects of music in the car. According to a study that involved teenage drivers, researchers found that the ones who were asked to play their own music on a 40-minute drive did so at a much louder volume than those who were given soothing instrumental soundtracks designed to encourage safer driving. And while the teens who supplied their own music reported feeling happier than their counterparts, they also made significantly more driving errors, including engaging in dangerous behaviors like speeding and weaving.

 

But a different study involving drivers in their 20s and 30s found that drivers performed equally well in a driving simulation whether they drove while listening to their own playlists or without any music at all. In fact, drivers were better at following another vehicle when they listened to music as compared to driving in silence, even though heart rate monitors indicated that listening to loud music increased drivers’ level of arousal.

 

To add to the confusion, a Dutch study found that music had no effect on drivers’ ability to follow the car ahead of them, and it actually even improved their response to changes in the leading car’s speed compared to drivers who drove in silence (and the music seemed to improve their energy and alertness, though the study authors caution that the effects may have been different under stressful conditions).

 

What About Podcasts, Audio Books, News, Sports, etc.?

 

If you spend more of your on-the-road time tuning into podcasts or other spoken content, then you might be wondering if these options are any more or less dangerous for drivers. The answer again: researchers aren’t sure. One study found that soccer fans who listened to a broadcast of a game began to drive erratically when the match got exciting (non-fans didn’t change their behavior when the action heated up). According to other scientists, listening to speech while behind the wheel shouldn’t negatively impact your ability to drive, but content that’s heavily visual (like that sports example) could actually cause you to lose focus.

 

The Bottom Line

 

While the research isn’t definitive, what we do know is that there are a few ways you can minimize your risk of distraction, even when you’re rocking out:

  • Get your playlist ready before you start the car — avoid fumbling with dials, buttons, or controls on your phone or stereo at all costs during your drive.
  • Keep the volume at a reasonable level — you don’t want to block out surrounding traffic sounds, so avoid the temptation to bump your tunes too loud.
  • Consider something soothing. While the research hasn’t been done on driving specifically, studies have found that classical music may improve mood and productivity when it comes to reading, so maybe getting your Baroque on could potentially enhance your focus on the road? It’s worth a try and you might just impress your passengers.
  • If you’re going to listen to podcasts or other forms of speech, consider avoiding sports broadcasts or other kinds of content that force you to recruit the visual parts of your brain or that have the potential to get you too fired up.  
  • Just say no to headphones, earbuds, AirPods, etc, which can block out the sounds of sirens and other surrounding traffic noises. It’s so unsafe that driving with these accessories is even illegal in some states.  Keep your ears free and clear and keep your speaker volume at a low-to-medium level.

 

Visit our blog for more ways to keep your travels safe and happy. See you on the road!

 

How to Avoid a Winter Car Breakdown

A dead battery, a flat tire, a stalled engine… on a frigid and stormy night, these are every driver’s worst fear. It’s bad enough that shoveling our cars out of snow piles is a daily occurrence during the winter. When real car trouble strikes, however, it can be extremely dangerous. There’s nothing worse than car trouble, and during the coldest months of the year, it’s all too common.

road coated by snow

How to Avoid a Winter Car Breakdown

From what to do if your car breaks down, to how to stay warm when your battery dies or you go off the road, we are sharing the top causes for winter breakdowns, our tips for avoiding them, and what to do if a breakdown is unavoidable.

Top Causes for Winter Car Breakdowns:

A dead battery

Did you know that it’s more difficult for a car battery to produce a charge during the colder winter months? This means that when you turn the key, it might not produce enough energy to start your car. That’s a scary thought.

Don’t get caught in the cold with a dead battery – use our tips to avoid this winter weather catastrophe.
  • Check your car battery voltage with a voltmeter or multimeter before it gets too cold. You can also ask your mechanic to take a look when you bring your car into the shop to get winterized. What voltage should you look for? Roughly 12.40–12.75 volts is enough to ensure reliable startups in cold weather.
  • If you live in a particularly frigid place, consider investing in a battery rated for cold temperatures. When shopping for a cold-weather battery, look for one with a high CCA (cold cranking amps) count. CCA count is a measure of how many amps the battery can generate in cold or freezing temperatures.

Bald or flat tires

Your tires are your contact with the road, so it’s important to keep them properly maintained for driving in wintery conditions – especially when roadways are slick and icy. Fresh tire treads help channel snow and water away and grip the road, and proper tire pressure helps your car dig into loose or slushy surfaces (like a road covered in a fresh layer of snow!). Without properly maintained tires, your car may have trouble staying on the road or coming to a stop when you hit the brakes. Yikes.

Here are our tips to keeping your tires properly maintained throughout the entire winter season:
  • Be sure to check your tires before winter weather hits, and continue doing so regularly after the temperatures drop. Did you know that the air pressure in your tires can drop 2 PSI for every 10 degrees the outdoor air temperature decreases? Therefore, it’s important that they stay properly inflated during the entire winter season. We suggest using a gas station air pump to check your tires at every other fill-up during the winter.
    Pro tip: the recommended PSI for your tires is usually printed on a sticker on the inside of the drivers-side door.
  • Bald tires and slick roads are a recipe for disaster. It’s crucial to make sure the tread isn’t worn down on your tires during the winter. To check your tread depth, try the Lincoln test: stick a penny into the center of the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed in. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread depth is too low and your tires need to be replaced ASAP.
    Pro tip: spring for some dedicated snow tires if you live in a place with severe weather.

Engine issues

If, on a particularly freezing morning, you turn the key in the ignition and you hear a squealing noise akin to cats fighting and see steam pouring out of the hood – there’s a good chance that your radiator has either frozen or cracked. In cold weather, your engine can also overheat (yes, you read that right!). This is due to the motor oil becoming thicker and not circulating properly throughout the engine.

Here are our pro tips for avoiding engine problems in the coldest months of the year:
  • Park indoors whenever possible. Parking indoors will help prevent fluids in your engine from constantly vacillating between freezing and expanding. Be sure to also check your car’s coolant concentration before winter hits (hey, it’s called antifreeze for a reason!). Your mechanic should have it on their pre-winter checklist to make sure the fluid proportions are correct to keep them from freezing.
    Pro tip: a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water should be sufficient.
  • Try swapping out a standard oil for multi-viscosity motor oil, which will perform better in all weather conditions. Ask your mechanic or contact your vehicle manufacturer’s customer service line to find out if you should do a winter oil change – they may recommend switching to thinner, less viscous oil that’s rated higher for colder temperatures.

If You Can’t Avoid A Winter Car Breakdown… Do This

Sometimes a breakdown in winter is unavoidable. Don’t panic.

Here’s what to do in the event of a winter car breakdown:

  1. Stay with your vehicle:

    Whatever you do, stay with (and inside) your vehicle. Exposing yourself to subzero temperatures and extreme weather is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

  2. Stay warm:

    Do everything in your power to stay warm by running the heat, layering in warm clothing, and staying inside the vehicle. Your car will provide the best protection and keep you warm and dry until help comes.

  3. Stash water and snacks in your car:

    In the winter, keep extra bottles of water and snacks in your car in case of breakdown. Depending on your location or the severity of the weather, it may be hours before assistance can reach you.

  4. Call Metromile Roadside Assistance:

    Have Metromile insurance with added roadside assistance? Then call for help using the Metromile app, phone or your online dashboard. If you don’t, call for whatever help you can.

  5. Have an emergency roadside kit ready to go in your trunk:

    This includes a snow scraper brush, small shovel, road flares, blanket, warm clothing, hand warmers, a small bag of sand, etc. At the very least, these items will be enough to alert other drivers of your presence and make it easier for assistance to find you in the storm.

What not to do:

  1. Do not leave your vehicle:

    Whatever you do, do not rush out of your vehicle or try to dig your car free of a snow bank. Doing so exposes you to the cold and elements, and it will be much harder to warm your body back up.

  2. Do not fall asleep:

    In some circumstances, you may be waiting hours for help to come and it might be tempting to doze off. Do everything you can to stay awake. If you’re trapped inside your car with the engine running, you may be susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. Falling asleep during carbon monoxide exposure is extremely dangerous and can lead to instant death.

Still Have Questions?

Still have questions? Reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or visit the help center. Not a part of the Metromile fam yet? Grab a free quote now and see how much you could be saving each month. Metromile customers save an average of $611 a year! Current Metromile customers: refer a friend to Metromile and get $25! Be safe this winter and see you on the roads.

How Do Low-Mileage Drivers Get Around?

As the go-to experts on pay-per-mile car insurance, Metromile decided it was high time to dig a little deeper into people’s driving habits to uncover just how low-mileage drivers are getting around if and when they’re not commuting behind the wheel. After surveying over 2,400 drivers, Metromile discovered some surprising insights that shed some light on just how people are getting from point A to point B (and C and D and beyond). Check out the findings and see if you can relate to the revelations:

cars at busy intersection in New York City

Low-Mileage Drivers’ Transportation Habits

First of all, when it comes to self-identifying as low-mileage drivers, participants are pretty spot-on.

According to the survey, 67.8% of Americans consider themselves “low-mileage drivers” (defined by researchers as less than 251 miles per month).

That stat isn’t too far off from the truth, which is that more than 70% of Americans between the ages of 18-24 are low-mileage drivers, based on their self-reported monthly mileage. Older drivers tend to get behind the wheel a bit more, but even the age group with the least amount of low-mileage drivers (ages 45-54) counts more low-mileage commuters than high-mileage ones (57.75% vs. 42.25%).

So if so many drivers aren’t driving all that much, how exactly are they getting around?

While respondents cited a variety of transportation modes (walking, biking, scooting, etc.), a lot of people picked rideshares (like Uber and Lyft) as their top pick. And the rideshare love seemed significantly associated with location; Californians, for example, really like to rely on these services, with more than 20% of respondents from the state saying they use them.

Californians are also the most flexible and progressive when it comes to which respondents bounce back and forth between driving their personal vehicles and utilizing alternative transportation methods. While Virginians are deeply committed to their cars (over 70% of respondents from that state said they only use their own autos for commuting — no bikes, buses, or subways for them), Californians weren’t so loyal and liked to jump around from one mode of transportation to another (more than 60% of respondents from that state said they use their own cars in addition to alternative transportation methods).

One big reason drivers — regardless of location — choose to use alternative modes of transportation is convenience.

More than half of respondents ages 18-34 said they like to find other ways to get around because those methods just fit into their lives better and make their day-to-day commutes easier.

But let’s go back to ridesharing for a second. Despite the fact that drivers around the country are definitely dabbling in the services, certain states just aren’t sure how they feel about them.

At first glance, Illinoisans, for example, seem to love ridesharing, since more than 40% of respondents from that state said they do it once a week or more. But while many residents claimed they tool around town in an Uber or Lyft that frequently, many more Illinois drivers said they’re not such heavy users — in fact nearly 70% said they use them less than once a month.

Confusing, yes, but they’re not the only ones feeling unsure about rideshares — Virginians are actually the slowest to adopt the services, with nearly 90% of respondents from that state saying they use it less than once a month (which makes perfect sense given how much we know they love their personal cars).

More Options for Low-Mileage Drivers

All in all, the Metromile survey results are pretty enlightening and offer some unprecedented insight into the habits and preferences of drivers around the country. With technology changing the landscape of life on the road, commuters now have more options for how to move around.

Metromile believes one of those options should be high-quality, affordable insurance coverage for low-mileage drivers, whether those people are hopping in Ubers more often than they’re starting up their own vehicles, or if walking to the office just makes more sense during the work week. If you’re already a Metromile customer, discover all the ways you can make your coverage work for you at metromile.com. And if you’re thinking of making the switch, visit the website or call 1.888.242.5204 to speak to a qualified agent and receive your free quote today.

How to Handle Accidents with Animals

The last thing an animal lover wants to think about is a car accident involving a creature of any kind. But animal-related accidents happen, and unfortunately, they happen a lot. According to the most recent roadkill statistics, 253,000 of the 6.3 million annual auto accidents in the U.S. involve animals. And while that number may be shocking, it may not even be the half of it: it’s estimated that about 50 percent of collisions between vehicles and large animals go unreported. The vast majority of these accidents involve deer (90 percent), but an appalling amount of vertebrates are run over each and every day — 1 million (that’s one creature every 11.5 seconds).

two people walking on a snowy path with a deer in the foreground

Tips for Avoiding Accidents with Animals

While animal-related accidents are undeniably common, they’re not inevitable. There are a number of ways drivers can take precautions to avoid an unfortunate event:

  • It may sound impossible, but if you see an animal run out in front of your vehicle, try to remain calm. If possible, quickly scan the road and the shoulders ahead of you to get a sense of where you can direct your car.
  • Believe it or not, swerving suddenly is not the best plan of action. Rather than suddenly steering in one direction, attempt to slow down as much as possible while keeping an eye on your rearview mirror to make sure no one is directly behind you and might risk crashing into your vehicle. However, be careful not to slam on your breaks as this can cause skidding.
  • If you see the animal approaching from the right side of the road, steering in that direction and attempting to go behind the creature might encourage it to cross faster.
  • If there’s no oncoming traffic, flash your high beams to alert the animal (this may also help illuminate some creatures’ reflective eyes). Avoid keeping the lights on since the steady brightness can cause deer to stop in their tracks. Honking your horn may also help drive the animal out of the way and/or alert other drivers to stop or slow down.
  • If you’re traveling in areas with a lot of wildlife, stay extra vigilant, especially around dawn and dusk when many animals tend to be active.

What To Do If You Hit An Animal While Driving

Even if you take all the proper steps to avoid a collision, it’s impossible to completely guarantee against an animal-related accident. If you do have the misfortune of hitting an animal with your vehicle, it’s crucial to know how to proceed post-accident.

The legal stuff

While the United Kingdom has an overarching law that requires drivers to report accidents involving certain animals like dogs, goats, horses, etc., the U.S. rules vary by state. However, most states require drivers to pull over if they hit a domestic animal, and immediately contact the appropriate state or local authority (if you’re driving on a busy road or highway, however, where it might be dangerous to stop, keep moving and call the police to report the accident). Check the driver’s handbook for your state to know all the legal requirements.

The safety stuff

Large animals:
  • Animals like a deer or elk have the potential to do major damage to your vehicle, and in some cases, you and your passengers. If there’s no time to slow down or avoid impact, it’s important that you lower your body down in the driver’s seat so you’re maximally protected by the dashboard in case the animal shatters your windshield.
  • Large animals tend to roll over a vehicle if they’re hit and crush the center of the roof and windshield — to minimize your risk of injury, lean toward your door, not the center of the car.
  • If you do hit a large animal, pull over immediately and stay in your vehicle — while your instinct may be to help the injured creature, you could put yourself in serious danger by coming close. Put on your emergency flashers and call for help ASAP.
Injured animals:
  • Even house pets can act in unpredictable ways when hurt. If possible place a blanket or jacket around domestic animals but do not approach if they seem aggressive or in serious distress. Call the police (and if you can see contact information on their collar, call their owner immediately).
  • Wait with the animal until authorities arrive.
  • Once the animal has been helped, you may choose to file a police report — because most states require pet owners to keep their pets under control, you may be able to receive compensation for vehicle damages.

The car insurance stuff

Immediately report the accident to your car insurance company — if you have comprehensive coverage, your plan may compensate for the cost of damages. However, if the cost doesn’t exceed your deductible, you may be responsible for the full cost of repairs.

What About Metromile Customers?

Here’s where comprehensive coverage really comes in handy. This is the type of plan that will be a big help if your car is stolen or damaged from issues like natural disasters, theft, and yes, animal-related incidents. It’s up to you to choose a deductible amount — that’s the out-of-pocket cost you agree to pay before coverage is afforded.

A lot of people make the mistake of confusing comprehensive coverage with collision coverage. Both types of plans insure your car, but each covers different events. Collision covers car accidents, and comprehensive covers events out of your control. Think of it like this: “Collision” means colliding with something else (other than animals), while “comprehensive” basically covers all other events. Animal-related accidents are covered by comprehensive (and not collision) because these accidents are considered out of your control.

Still Have Questions?

While no one likes to think about the prospect of hitting an animal, understanding the ways to prevent and react are an important part of driving safe. Still have questions? Whether you’re already a Metromile customer or considering making the switch, the Metromile Help Center is a great resource for getting answers. And if your concern isn’t addressed, check out the rest of the site or call today to talk with a qualified agent and/or get a free personalized quote.

Driving at Night: A Primer

With the days getting darker earlier and the nights getting longer, the winter can feel like a major slog. Commuting to work before the sun wakes up and commuting home after its gone to bed can feel like you’ll never see daylight again. Additionally, driving when it’s dark outside is the most notoriously dangerous time to drive. Shorter days, fatigue, compromised night vision, rush hour and impaired drivers all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous than any other time of day.

Cars waiting at light at night in Chicago

How to Drive Safely At Night

Did you know that the risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night, according to National Safety Council research? Daylight Saving Time has officially thrown us into the darkest days of the year, and a lot of us are probably spending more hours on the road in the dark. Here at Metromile, we’re committed to the safety of all of our customers, which is why we’re sharing our best tips for driving at night.

But First: Some Scary Stats

We know that night driving increases crash risk for all drivers, but did you know that the risk is even higher for young inexperienced drivers? Here’s a scary stat: only 14 percent of the miles driven by 16- to 17-year-old drivers occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., yet this time period accounts for 32 percent of fatal crashes in this age group. Let that sink in for a minute.

Another disturbing stat: nationwide, 49% of fatal crashes happen at night. Not only that, but nighttime crashes have a fatality rate (per mile of travel) about three times as high as daytime hours. Of people killed at night, roughly two-thirds aren’t wearing seatbelts. Just to put that in perspective, during the day, the percentage of unrestrained fatalities tends to be under half.

Reduced Visibility

When was the last time you felt you could see really well in the dark? Unlike most animals, humans naturally do not have great night vision, so driving at night is inherently much riskier. Let’s explore some of the major risk factors for night driving and some tips on how to overcome the risk of driving at night.

Major Risk Factors

Some of the major risk factors for driving at night include:

  • Reduced depth perception
  • Reduced color recognition
  • Compromised peripheral vision
  • Temporary blindness caused by the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle
Tips to Overcome Risk

Here are a few things you can do to combat these risk factors:

  • Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean and free from haze
  • Dim your dashboard brightness to reduce the contrast between dark and light, which can be difficult for your eye to process
  • Avert your gaze from oncoming headlights
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective to reduce glare on the road
  • Clean both the inside and outside of the windshield to eliminate streaks and haziness
  • Drive slower to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time

Fatigue and Rush Hour

The hours between 4pm and 7pm are the most dangerous times to be on the road. Couple that with the fact that the national average time of sunset is around 4:30pm during the winter months and you have a recipe for disaster. Driving in the dark also triggers fatigue in many people. With tired drivers rushing to get home after dark, driving during winter rush hour is a majorly scary undertaking.

Major Risk Factors

Some of the major risk factors for driving during winter rush hour include:

  • Drivers eager to get home who may be less cautious and more aggressive
  • Crowded roadways
  • Driving in the dark, which may cause drowsiness and fatigue in both you and other drivers on the road
Tips to Overcome Risk

Here are a few things you can do to combat these risk factors:

  • Carefully monitor your own fatigue levels, and know when you need to pull over to a safe rest area
  • Leaving early (preferably before dusk) will help you stay awake, see better, and avoid crowded roadways
  • Practice defensive driving and be vigilant for other drivers’ mistakes
  • Be courteous to other drivers on the road and only use your high beams when there’s no one driving towards you or in front of you

Distracted Drivers

After a tiring day at the office, the last thing you should be doing on the drive home is texting, ‘gramming, or dining in your car. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes, and distracted driving at night can be even more deadly.

Major Risk Factors

Some of the major risk factors for driving while distracted in the dark include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Disability glare from your phone screen (i.e. the glare from your lit phone screen causes light scatter in the eyes, which in turn reduces the contrast of roadway objects)
  • Not practicing defensive driving to watch for other drivers’ mistakes
  • Not paying attention to pedestrians or other obstacles in the roadway
Tips to Overcome Risk

Here are a few things you can do to combat these risk factors:

  • Never, ever text and drive (or use social media, or check email… you catch our drift)
  • Same goes for eating while driving and talking on the phone
  • Switch your phone to auto-reply or do not disturb while you’re driving so you’re not tempted to check your notifications
  • Watch for other distracted drivers and steer clear – notify the authorities if they appear to be a danger to others on the road

Driving Under the Influence

‘Tis the season for endless holiday parties which also include open bars and free-flowing alcoholic beverages. If you’re relying on a car to transport you home after the party, always plan out a designated driver ahead of time. If you’re the one driving home, abstain from drinking at the party to ensure you and your passengers all make it home safely. There are more drunk drivers on the road at night, which increases the risk of accidents. In fact, the NSC indicates weekend nights are the worst time of the week for fatal accidents.

Major Risk Factors

Some of the major risk factors for driving while under the influence include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Less inhibition while driving which can lead to riskier behavior
  • Impaired judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, and visual acuity
  • Injuring or killing yourself or others
Tips to Overcome Risk

Here are a few things you can do to combat these risk factors:

  • Never get behind the wheel while intoxicated (yes, this includes being buzzed)
  • Always designate a DD before imbibing or take another form of transportation home
  • Abstain from drinking or becoming intoxicated if you are planning on driving
  • Be vigilant for other drivers who are driving under the influence, and if you spot one, be sure to move out of the way of harm and dial 911

TL;DR

Whew, that was a lot of info. If you didn’t have time to read the full article, here’s the reader’s digest and our best tips for driving at night.

Top 17 Tips for Driving at Night

  1. Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean and free from haze
  2. Dim your dashboard brightness to reduce the contrast between dark and light, which can be difficult for your eye to process
  3. Avert your gaze from oncoming headlights
  4. If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective to reduce glare on the road
  5. Clean both the inside and outside of the windshield to eliminate streaks and haziness
  6. Drive slower to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time
  7. Carefully monitor your own fatigue levels, and know when you need to pull over to a safe rest area
  8. Leave early (preferably before dusk) to help you stay awake, see better, and avoid crowded roadways
  9. Practice defensive driving and be vigilant for other drivers’ mistakes
  10. Be courteous to other drivers on the road and only use your high beams when there’s no one driving towards you or in front of you
  11. Never, ever text and drive (or use social media, or check email… you catch our drift) – the same goes for eating while driving and talking on the phone
  12. Switch your phone to auto-reply or do not disturb while you’re driving so you’re not tempted to check your notifications
  13. Watch for other distracted drivers and steer clear – notify the authorities if they appear to be a danger to others on the road
  14. Never get behind the wheel while intoxicated (yes, this includes being buzzed)
  15. Always designate a DD before imbibing or take another form of transportation home
  16. Abstain from drinking or becoming intoxicated if you are planning on driving
  17. Be vigilant for other drivers who are driving under the influence, and if you spot one, be sure to move out of the way of harm and dial 911

Always remember that driving is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. At this time of year, we’re spending more time than usual driving in the dark, and we hope that this primer refreshes our beloved Metromile fam with some best practices for driving at night.

Still Have Questions?

No worries, we have the answers. Check out our FAQ page in the Metromile Help Center to see if there’s already an answer to your inquiry. And if your question isn’t answered there, you can get direct, customized guidance from one of Metromile’s licensed agents by calling 1.888.242.5204 to talk it out.

If you haven’t joined the Metromile fam yet, what are you waiting for? Start the New Year right by saving some cash! Grab a free quote today. As always, be safe out there and see you on the roads.

Extreme Weather: Your Guide to Surviving Driving In It

As the seasons change from fall to winter, drivers are likely to encounter any number of obstacles that increase the odds of an accident. In fact, of the average 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year, approximately 21 percent (almost 1,235,000) are weather-related. From rain and wind to ice, hail, snow, and sleet, extreme weather events inevitably impact road safety.

white vehicle near tall tree at cloudy sky during daytime

Extreme Weather – How to Survive Driving In It

So what’s a commuter to do when driving from point A to point B is the only option? If you have to traverse the roads in treacherous circumstances, it’s important to know how best to navigate sticky situations. Here are Metromile’s best tips for traveling in tricky weather conditions (and if an unfortunate event does occur, make sure you know how to take advantage of Metromile’s roadside assistance program):

Wildfires

If you or someone you know lives in California, then you were undoubtedly well aware of the devastating wildfires that tore through the state earlier this year. But whether the cause is lightning, arson, drought, or climate change, fires can occur anywhere, any time, and can spread far and wide in a second.

So what are you supposed to do if a wildfire suddenly threatens your area? Because the disastrous effects spread so quickly, it’s critical to be prepared. Consider signing up for your community’s warning system so you’ll receive text alerts in case of emergency. Get to know your community’s evacuation plan, and have several possible exit routes in mind.

The most important thing to do in the event of a wildfire, of course, is to evacuate immediately. But jumping in your vehicle amid unpredictable flames can clearly be a scary prospect. According to experts, the most important factor in survival is to leave early — don’t debate your decision to evacuate, just get on the road. Because a blaze can “leapfrog” or “hopscotch” across the ground, there are no guarantees that a car can outrun flames. Streets and highways can become blocked in a matter of seconds, and traffic and visibility can become increasingly worse. Don’t wait until the last minute, and just go.

  • As you drive, roll up your windows, close the air vents, and turn on the AC to minimize smoke inhalation and irritation.
  • Take precaution and drive slowly with your headlights and hazards on, as the air quality may compromise visibility.
  • Experts recommend covering yourself with dry fabric, preferably wool, if possible, to protect your skin.
  • If you see flames approaching as you drive, seek out a parking spot that’s free of debris, and try to find a barrier like a concrete wall to block the fire.
  • Most importantly, do everything you can to remain calm, and don’t, under any circumstances, exit the vehicle.

Flash floods

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, floods are the most widespread and common weather-related natural disasters. Heavy rains, intense ocean waves, melted slow, or dam or levee breaks can cause sudden overflowing surges of water anywhere in the world.

While flash floods can occur spontaneously, the National Weather Service (NWS) issues watches and warnings, intended to give local residents notice that conditions are either favoring a flash flood, or one is imminent. Take heed of these announcements, and evacuate ASAP if necessary.

If you’re behind the wheel while a flash flood is occurring, NWS has a simple but potentially life-saving adage to remember: “turn around don’t drown.” More than half of flood-related drownings occur when a car is driven into hazardous flood water. Rushing water is far more powerful and forceful than many people realize — even just six inches of swiftly moving water can knock a person down, 12 inches can carry away a small car, and two feet can sweep away most vehicles.

  • Unlike wildfires, when it’s safest to stay in your vehicle, flash flooding may necessitate a quick exit. If you’re stuck on a road and water levels are rising fast, get out of the car as fast as you can and move to a higher elevation.
  • Avoid driving through water that an electrical or power line has fallen into, and avoid using your phone unless you have to report severe injuries.
  • As you drive, be extra vigilant of objects traveling downstream that could hit your vehicle.
  • If your brakes become too wet to stop your vehicle, you can try to dry them by gently applying pressure on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right, but evacuate your vehicle immediately if conditions become too rough.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are another natural disaster that can occur suddenly, almost anywhere, though they are more likely to occur over fault lines. If you live in an area that’s more likely to be struck by an earthquake, preparation is again key, so having a few escape routes and emergency protocols is essential.

That said, driving during an earthquake is a unique experience because the shake may not be felt from a moving vehicle, and there may not be any visible clues as to what’s going on. The only indication some drivers get during a tremor is that they lose control of their vehicles for no apparent reason.

  • The best thing a driver can do in that situation is to slow down until it’s safe to pull over, as far from trees, power lines, bridges, buildings, or overpasses, as possible.
  • Stay in the vehicle until the quake is over, and keep your seatbelt secured. It’s best to avoid using your telephone and instead tune into the radio for emergency broadcasting updates.
  • Once it’s safe to start driving again, pay extra attention to the potentially damaged road and keep an eye out for stalled vehicles and/or dangerous damage.

Tornadoes

According to FEMA, tornadoes are considered nature’s most violent storms, and can cause widespread devastation and fatalities in a matter of seconds. Every state in the country is at some risk of a tornado, though certain states, like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, are more prone to them. Tornadoes can strike quickly, with little or no warning, so preparation is key. Keep an eye out for watches and warnings and know the warning signs:

  • A dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, low cloud that may be rotating
  • A loud roar that may sound like a freight train

If you receive an alert or you spot any of the signs above, be prepared to take shelter. And if you’re already in your car, get out immediately and stay as low to the ground as possible. It’s best to take refuge in a sturdy building, but if there’s no shelter nearby, get far away from your car and find a ditch or other low area where you can lay down on your front side and cover the back of your head. The only situation in which it’s recommended that you stay in your vehicle is if there’s no lower ground than the road you’re already on; in that case, fasten your seatbelt and lower your head below the windows, covering your head with your hands or a blanket.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes typically occur in the Southwest U.S. and the Pacific Coast where heavy rains and floods are possible. These tropical cyclones can cause catastrophic damage with wind speeds exceeding 155 miles per hour and can cause torrential rain, leading to potentially fatal flooding.

  • People who live in areas prone to hurricanes are advised to have a wind-safe room in their homes and to evacuate if directed to do so by local authorities.
  • If you’re on the road when a hurricane hits, stay in your car and seek shelter in a parking garage if you can.
  • Avoid driving through water and keep an eye out for fallen wires and other potential hazards.
  • If your car hydroplanes (starts traveling on the surface of the standing water instead of the road), release the gas slowly and steer straight until your tires are back on the road; don’t slam the brakes or turn the steering wheel — wait until you’ve regained traction before lightly tapping the brakes.

Heavy Rain/Lightning and Thunderstorms

According to the Department of Transportation, nearly half of weather-related crashes occur during rainfall. The best way to avoid a rainy day accident, is, of course, to avoid driving in the rain altogether. But if you absolutely can’t avoid a heavy rain commute, follow these tips:

  • Plan ahead and if possible, pick a route that’s at a higher elevation and less likely to flood.
  • Maintain a clear windshield by cleaning out dead leaves and other debris on a regular basis.
  • Use your headlights, but avoid turning on the high beams — the extra bright light can reflect off the rain and shine right into your eyes.
  • Keep more distance than usual between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Never use cruise control when driving in heavy rain, as it can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • In the event that your car hydroplanes (i.e. begins to ride on top of the standing water instead of the road surface), immediately take your foot off the gas, but don’t stomp on the brakes. Instead, turn your steering wheel gently in the direction that your car is traveling to help your tires realign, and when you reconnect with the road, pull over and make sure you’re feeling calm and safe enough to keep going.

Black Ice

If you live in or often drive through cold climates, then you may be familiar with black ice, a glaze that forms on the surface of roads due to a light freezing rain or melting/refreezing of snow or rain. The name is a bit of a misnomer since the ice isn’t black, but clear, making it almost invisible. It often forms at night or early in the morning, and is more likely to form on parts of the road that are less traveled on and/or don’t get much sunlight. Though it’s mostly transparent, you can locate black ice in the right lighting conditions if you know what to look for: very shiny, smooth, sheets.

If you’ll be driving in areas prone to black ice, it’s a good idea to practice driving on slippery surfaces like ice in a safe surrounding. In a controlled, safe setting, this kind of practice can prepare you for how to react in an emergency black ice encounter.

  • If you do hit black ice, experts generally recommend that you stay calm and just keep going straight — don’t hit the brakes.
  • If you start to veer to the left or right, gently turn your steering wheel in that direction.
  • Take your foot off the gas pedal and head toward an area that has more traction (like snow or sand).
  • If your car starts to skid, stay calm. If you have anti-lock braking system (ABS), put your foot on the brake with firm pressure and allow the car to pump your brakes for you. If you don’t have ABS, gently pump the brakes yourself. In either case, gently steer in the direction you want to go.

Snow/Blizzard

The best way to prepare for any situation — weather-related or otherwise — is to have an emergency kit in your car that includes essentials like a flashlight, jumper cables, warning flares, and more. Once you’re on the road, if snow starts to fall, drive slowly and increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead. You’ll also want to be gentle with your brake pedal and don’t use cruise control. If you’re going up hills, avoid tire spinning by gaining momentum before you ascend and then slowing down before you reach the top.

If you find yourself driving through a whiteout, now’s the time to slow way, way down. Your visibility will be severely compromised, so the slower you go, the better. It’s also essential to make your vehicle as visible as possible, so turn on all your headlights and communicate with hand gestures if you can. The best option is to stop your car and wait until the whiteout ends. Just remember to turn on your hazard lights, and if you’re running your car (just for 10 minutes at a time every hour to keep heat), crack the window to avoid a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.

Have Questions About Insurance Coverage?

Hopefully, you’re now feeling more confident on the road, but if you want to feel more confident in your car insurance company, it’s time to talk with a Metromile agent. If you’re already a customer, one of Metromile’s qualified specialists can help you figure out the best coverage plan for you. And if you’re still debating which carrier is right for you, call 1.888.242.5204 or visit Metromile.com today to get a free quote.

How to Navigate Thanksgiving Traffic Like a Boss

Thanksgiving brings to mind family, friends, turkey, potatoes, and thanks-giving — of course. But, it can also bring Thanksgiving traffic to mind. Millions of people travel for the holidays and a majority of them travel by car. In fact, last year nearly 51 million Americans contributed to road congestion over the Thanksgiving holiday (a 3.3% increase over the previous year).

The Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast 2018?

Inrix predicts your time on the road could increase by as much as 4X, with 2.5 million more people opting to commute by car for the holiday. That’s 4.8% more people on the roads, for a total of 54.3 million drivers – all with the common goal of gobbling till they wobble.

With all those people on the road, safety is a major concern. While you may be used to cruising around your neighborhood on the daily, adding holiday travelers to the mix is bound to result in much more congestion, traffic, and errors. Luckily, Google, mapped Thanksgiving across the country to help drivers understand when Thanksgiving traffic is worse than normal (i.e. when to stay off the roads).

When To Stay Off The Roads

  1. Don’t even think of hitting the road between 3-4pm on November 21st, unless you enjoy slowly creeping down the highway as a glacial speed.
  2. Trying to hit the stores Friday morning for the Black Friday sales? You should be fine- Black Friday traffic is usually the same as any other Friday, just prepare yourself for that parking lot madness.
  3. Heading home Sunday? So is everyone else! Polarizing times seem to be better; so shoot for early morning or later in the evening.

Overall, the best days to travel will be Thanksgiving Day itself, Friday, or Saturday. Drivers, flyers, and alternative transit users should all expect travel delays on Sunday. While we know avoiding the traffic altogether is the safest option, we also know that holiday travel is usually unavoidable. So, if you can’t beat them, you’ll have to join the masses on the roads.

Tips For Navigating Thanksgiving Traffic Like a Boss

  1. Avoid the busiest travel days: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often times easier said than done. The busiest travel days are the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
  2. The early driver catches the worm: Leave early. Taking data from past holidays, Google has found that leaving by 6 a.m. on Sunday is your best bet. From there on out traffic will only get worse. Headed home? – Leave early; Friday is the best time to head home Thanksgiving traffic free.
  3. When in doubt, Podcast it out: Be prepared for traffic anyways and have a playlist, audiobook or Podcast ready to entertain you while you wait it out. Having something to listen to will keep you calm so you show up to Thanksgiving refreshed not stressed.
  4. Be courteous: Everyone is pretty much on the road for the same reason, to get somewhere to eat and celebrate with loved ones. We could all use a little extra kindness here and there and making the extra effort to be polite to others on the road can make a huge difference.
  5. Please be safe out there, Metromilers: Remember to keep your seatbelts fastened and all your limbs inside the vehicle at all times. Avoid distractions and use a portable navigation system if possible. Be sure to drive at the speed limit and leave that road rage at home for the holiday, no one likes a Scrooge at Thanksgiving.

  6. Be thankful: Traffic is definitely a nuisance and sometimes it’s easier to complain and focus on the negative. But, always remember that the traffic could be worse, or you could not be going to spend the holidays with loved ones. Being thankful for what you have and taking every day one step at a time, and every traffic jam one mile at a time can make that stop-and-go freeway drive that much more bearable.

So this Thanksgiving just remember, planning ahead and being prepared for congestion is the best way to avoid the stress that that traffic can cause. Team Metromile is wishing all you road trippers and commuters a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you do have some big holiday road trips in the future, you are in luck if you are a Metromile pay-per-mile car insurance customer. We have a daily mileage cap so you won’t be charged for over a 250 miles a day (150 in certain states), but still will be totally covered all the way to grandma’s house!

How To Prevent Teen Driving Accidents

As a teenager, there’s nothing more exciting than getting your driver’s license. You practice for months, take the test, and BAM – you officially have your freedom! As a parent of a teenager, however, there’s nothing scarier than your teen getting their driver’s license. Not only does your child now have the keys to your car, but you have now been saddled with an extra expense – adding your teen driver to your car insurance policy.

As adults, we all wonder why car insurance costs so much for ourselves – but we all know one thing for sure: why it costs so much for our teen drivers. Teen drivers get into more accidents than any other section of the population. In fact, individuals aged 15 – 20 years make up 6.7% of the total driving population, but are involved in 20% of all crashes and 14% of motor vehicle deaths. With school back in session and a whole new group of teenagers turning 16, we want to arm you with the best tips for preventing accidents in teen drivers.

Some Stats

Teen driver statistics are grim. The overwhelming majority (75%!) of serious teen driver crashes are due to “critical errors,” with three common errors accounting for nearly half of these crashes:

  1. Lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards
  2. Going too fast for road conditions
  3. Being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle

The majority of newly licensed teen drivers exit the learner’s permit period without basic driving skills mastered, leading to a much higher risk of crashing (compared with more experienced drivers). The most common types of crashes in teen drivers involve left turns, rear-end events, and running off the road.

10% of all teen driving fatalities in 2016 involved distracted driving. Even more disturbing, in crashes involving a distracted teen driver, 51% of fatalities were teens themselves. Of the 451 young drivers killed who had alcohol in their systems, 368 (82%) were at .08 g/dL or higher (past the legal driving limit for adults 21+). Of crashes with available seat belt usage information, 47% of teen drivers killed were unrestrained at the time of the crash.

However, there is a bright spot in all of these grisly stats. 12 states (AZ, CA, VA, MA, NV, IL, NJ, MN, GA, FL, VT, and MO) reduced their teen driver-related fatality rates by more than 50% between 2005 – 2006 and 2009 – 2010.

Top Drivers of Teen Car Accidents

There are more than a few reasons why teens are the most likely group to get into a car accident. Here are the top reasons:

  1. Distracted driving: This includes engaging in any type of activity that takes their eyes and mind off the road, such as using a phone, eating, adjusting the radio, and chatting with passengers.
  2. Driver inexperience: Teens with less than two years of driving experience do not have the know-how to recognize and react to dangerous situations, and crash risk is particularly high during the first months after earning a license because teenagers are excited to hit the roads unsupervised – yikes!
  3. Driving under the influence: In general, teenagers are more prone to engage in dangerous behaviors while driving, and almost 25% of teens report that they are willing to ride with a driver who has been drinking (a very scary thought!). Combined with lack of experience, driving while under the influence of alcohol becomes a common cause of teen car accidents and deaths.
  4. Reckless driving: Male teenagers are especially at risk for being involved in fatal reckless driving accidents. The reckless driving behaviors include making illegal turns or lane changes, tailgating, and street racing.
  5. Driving with teen passengers: Studies have shown that the presence of teen passengers can increase a young driver’s risk of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and engaging in reckless driving through peer pressure.
  6. Texting and driving: Texting and driving has become a major cause of auto accidents involving teens. In addition to texting, using social media while driving creates the same level of distraction for young drivers.

Car Accident Prevention Tips

Now that we’ve laid down the facts, let’s talk about some ways that we can prevent teen car accidents.

  • Develop the right attitude. It is crucial to instill the right attitude towards driving in teenagers. As a parent, make a commitment to yourself and your child to teach them a responsible driving attitude. You owe it to your child, their passengers, and everyone else on the road.
  • Log hours of practice. Take an active role in your child’s practice driving. Make a firm schedule and have them stick to it, and continue this all the way up until their driving exam.
  • Slow and steady. When your teen begins driving, avoid high volumes of fast-moving traffic. Once they become more comfortable behind the wheel, you can gradually introduce more difficult driving situations, such as merging onto a highway or driving in the city.
  • Cell phones are for emergency use only. Be absolutely clear with your teen to make sure that they understand: they must always pull over to the side of the road if they need to use their cell phone in a driving emergency. Otherwise, it could cost them or someone else their life.
  • Stress dangers of drinking and driving. Many teenagers find ways to obtain alcohol before they turn 21 (yes, even your teenager!). Teens may not realize they don’t have to be legally drunk to become risky drivers. Regardless of blood alcohol concentration levels, they are more likely to get into a car accident and become injured or die.

Together, we can reduce these grim teen driver statistics and make the roads a safer place for everyone. If you’re already a Metromile customer and have a new teen driver in your home, add them onto your policy in a snap. If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, consider making the switch or getting a policy for your teenager (who is most likely a low-mileage driver!). The quote is always free, so grab a quote today. As always, stay safe out there and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

6 Safety Tips for Summer Road Trips

Across the United States, summertime means vacations and road trips for many families. It can be an exciting adventure to pass your time when on a break from school or work. Whether you are road-tripping near or very far, ensuring that your vehicle is ready for the trip is important. If you don’t plan ahead, you could be spending some of your trip on the side of the road. Below are some of the top tips you need to take into consideration before heading out for a summer road trip.

6 Safety Tips for Summer Road Trips

  1. Check Your Vehicle’s Tires

    One of the biggest things to check off your list before you pull out of your driveway is to check your tires. Trying to take a road trip with tires that are not in good shape or not inflated properly is extremely dangerous.
    First, you should be sure to check your car’s tire pressure. If your tires have too much air in them, you will not be able to stop as quickly. It can also cause your tires to wear down quicker and unevenly. If you don’t have enough air in your tires, it can lead to excessive wear on the tread, poor handling, and low fuel efficiency.

    Another thing to check with your tires is the amount of tread left on them. The depth of the tire tread can determine your vehicle’s safe stopping distance. You can always check this yourself by doing the Lincoln test. Place the penny upside-down in the groove of your tread. If you are able to see the president’s head on the penny, it is time to get your tires replaced.

    Lastly, always ensure you get your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles or so. This will help your tires wear more evenly and last longer.

  2. Plan Ahead Accordingly

    While it can be extra adventurous to take an impromptu road trip, it is not always the best or safest way to go about it. If you want to make sure you are safe and can fully enjoy your road trip, the best way is to plan ahead as much as possible. Planning ahead can ensure you are ready to tackle any issues or problems that get in your way without having to ruin or cancel your trip altogether. Another benefit of planning your trip ahead of time is creating an itinerary so that you have exciting places to visit on your drive. If you are just winging it, you may just pass up an incredible opportunity to visit a cool roadside attraction.

  3. Have Backup Plans and Assistance Ready

    When road tripping, you need to have an emergency plan to put into place. If you get a flat tire, do you have a spare? If your vehicle breaks down, do you have money for a tow truck? You need to have extra money for emergency situations so that you don’t find yourself stuck out in the middle of nowhere without anyone to help. It’s also a good idea to have a safety kit and some tools in your car. An extra tire, first aid kit, tire jack and a set of jumper cables are a good place to start.

  4. Carry Active Car Insurance

    It is never advisable or a good idea to plan a road trip without having your insurance up-to-date and active. If you are in the market for a new car insurance company, consider making the switch to Metromile. With Metromile customers pay a low base rate to and then a minimal fee per mile. This can be a great car insurance option for drivers who don’t use their vehicles too much. The less time you spend driving, the more money you can potentially save on your insurance premiums. Metromile also offers roadside assistance.

  5. Stay Alert and Cautious

    Aside from making sure your vehicle is in good condition and that you have your insurance and backup plans in place, a safe road trip during the summer will ultimately boil down to being a safe driver. While you are driving, it is important to stay alert and share the road with other drivers. Take your time and enjoy the scenery to make some memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

By following these tips and planning ahead, you can stay safe and minimize your chance of car problems during your trip. Go out there and see where your road trip takes you this summer!

Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Great Deal Tires. She regularly produces content for a variety of car and safety blogs.