The 5 Best Ways to Drive Less

Do you remember how exciting it was to be 16 and driving for the first time? At the time, all you can think about is driving more, it takes years before you start to brainstorm ways to drive less. In fact, almost everyone fondly remembers their first car and the excitement it provided. Driving is supposed to be fun, after all. Driving is supposed to give you the freedom to do all the things that you want to do in your life.

parked bike in front of window that reads "WORK." Drive Less, Bike More.

And yet, driving’s become a stress-laden chore for most. You drive to and from work, to the grocery store, to the dry cleaner –gas prices keep inching up, and parking lots seem to always be full.

The truth is; we probably rely too much on our vehicles. Cutting down on how much you drive daily can help stimulate a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress, and save a ton of cash on car insurance with usage-based insurance models. And it’s not too hard to do if you’re willing to make a few changes.So here are five of the best ways to drive a little less, to save a little more money.

1. Drive Less: Live Closer to the Places You Go Most

This is probably an obvious tip but try to at least live closer to your work. Getting to work is usually the biggest transportation need in anyone’s life; by moving closer to your job, you allow yourself to save a lot of mileage and even some sleep.
And who wouldn’t like more sleep?
Of course, many businesses are situated in bustling downtown areas where housing is limited and costly. If you cannot live near your job, consider moving closer to commonly visited resources. Try to find a place near your favorite grocery store or close to your child’s school to cut down on the morning commute. The more destinations you can walk to, the less you’ll need to load up the car.

2. Drive Less: Give Up Shopping as a Hobby

Have you ever gone to the store just to browse? I think we’re all guilty there.
Window shopping is a favorite pastime of nearly everyone. There’s a pleasant easiness to just walking around aimlessly and looking around to see whatever catches your interest. And who knows – you may just find that special something on a whim!
The problem with this is it adds unnecessary miles on your odometer if you’re in the habit of shopping or browsing to fight boredom. Try to save your window shopping trips for when you actually need to make purchases.

3. Drive Less: In fact, Shop Online

For those times when you genuinely need to make a purchase, you won’t need to get in the car if you consider shopping online. Modern online retailers are very competitive with brick-and-mortar locations, often even writing-off the price of shipping so they can pass the savings on to you.
Of course, there are items like furniture and clothing which you ought to see in person before buying. However, you can get great savings on electronics, entertainment media, and even groceries without having to drive so much as a mile down the road.

4. Drive Less: Entertain at Home

Open floor plans in houses are all the rage nowadays for a reason; they allow you to entertain at home and keep everyone included in a larger space. If you’re looking to drive less, save the mileage by inviting friends and family over to spend an evening at your place.
Not only will this save your car some cumulative wear and tear, it will also save a lot of cash by skipping the costly restaurant and night-life bills. You can even make it a point to carpool with friends if you’d like to take turns entertaining.

5. Drive Less: Use Alternate Transportation

Many towns and cities have excellent public transportation systems that you can utilize. And if you’ve not ridden a bus since school, you might want to give it a shot. Studies show that riding public transportation or biking reduces stress and even provides health benefits. And that shouldn’t be too surprising if you’ve ever sat white-knuckled in rush hour traffic.


These alternative forms of transportation provide exercise, reduce stress, and save you money; they’ll keep your waistline trim and your sanity intact. According to the Department of Transportation, the average American spends 334 hours driving per year. Factor gas and insurance…and it’s a lot. But if you’re willing to make an effort to reduce your driving, you can save a ton of green and live a healthier and easier life.

Learn more about Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering and get a free quote here.
Samantha Tung is a contributing author and Media Specialist for Caliber Collision.

6 Important Tips for Driving Safely

June is National Safety Month, and here at Metromile, we want to make sure our customers drive as safely as possible. Here are some important safe driving tips to keep you and your precious cargo safe while traveling on the road.

safe_driving_tips

  1. Focus on driving. Don’t try to multitask while you are behind the wheel. Even if you consider yourself an expert at eating a burger while driving, it’s a distraction. Put all electronics away, and make sure to get any directions needed ahead of time. Here are some ways to prevent distracted driving.
  2. Be aware. Keep around a 3 to 4-second cushion between you and the car in front of you and maintain a safe following distance. This should allow for enough time for you to brake to a stop if necessary.  If there is bad weather, consider a longer allotted time between you and the car in front of you.
  3. Plan ahead and don’t rush. If you are going on a road trip, get an idea of any stops you’ll make on the way to your destination (e.g. food, gas, or phone calls). Always make any adjustments to your mirror, climate controls, and seat before putting your car in drive.
  4. Keep everything secured. Make sure to secure cargo that may move around while the car is getting you from point A to point B. Don’t try and reach for any items that fall on the floor while driving, just wait until you are to your destination to retrieve the item. If you do need any items, like a toll pass or parking pass, put them in an easy-to-reach place.
  5. Don’t skimp on maintenance. Have your routine inspections to take care of any problems with your vehicle. Check your tire pressure regularly to avoid flats or blowouts and pay attention to your car’s brakes (if anything sounds off, here’s what to do). If you notice any abnormalities have them checked out by a mechanic.
  6. Pack an emergency kit. Just in case you are in an emergency situation, have a first-aid kit handy, as well as road flares, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, and drinking water. Keep a phone charger in your car in case you need to dial 911 or roadside assistance.

Safe driving is the number one priority on the road. If you are a Metromile customer and an accident does happen, follow these guidelines. If you are in need of roadside assistance and have it included in your policy, you can request roadside assistance through the app or your dashboard. We’ll do everything we can to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible!

This Earth Day, Try Driving Less

Earth Day is pretty important to us at Metromile. It might sound contradictory since we work in the car industry, but we pride ourselves on incentivizing customers to drive less since they pay based on the miles they drive. Earth Day is actually a worldwide celebration — it began in 1970 and continues to be recognized in 193 countries. In the spirit of the holiday, here are tips on how to drive less and cut down on your vehicle’s carbon emissions.

drive_less_earth_day

 

Bike to work. The majority of Americans live close to their workplace. So instead of grabbing your keys to start your car in the morning, grab your helmet and start biking. Even biking one day a week can make a big impact. Check out our tips on how to enjoy your bike commute.

Walk more. Get a kickstart to your day by walking to work. You’ll get a bunch of steps in before breakfast and heat up the competition in your step challenge group.

Organize a carpool. Find a friend who lives and works close to you, and take turns driving each other to work. If no one comes to mind, here are some ideas on how to find someone to carpool with. An added bonus is that you can drive in the carpool lane all the way to work!

Or let someone arrange a pool for you. Try UberPOOL or Lyft Line, where you share a ride with other passengers on your way to your destination. This also costs significantly less than a normal Uber ride.

Invest in a hybrid car. They give off fewer carbon emissions and get better gas mileage which is definitely a win for our wildlife (and your wallet).

If these tips work for you and you find yourself driving less, pay-per-mile insurance could be a great fit for you! To learn more, or to see how much you could save, just click here.

How Much Does a Long Commute Cost You?

The following is an infographic and  guest post from Anastasia Ivanov, a freelance writer and graphic designer for InvestmentZen with a penchant for flipping houses.

Have you ever paused for a moment to consider how much your car commute to work might be costing you? If you haven’t, the figures you are about to encounter will make your head spin.

Not only are long car commutes to work financially costly, they take so many hours that by the end of a 30-year career, you’ll have effectively spent several full months staring at other people’s tail lights.

For instance, if your commute averages 26 minutes, you spend 9 full days of your life on the road annually. That’s a steep price to pay just to get to work.

How about the financial impact? When it’s all said and done, car commutes can easily cost the average person up to a million dollars cumulatively over the course of a 30-year career in lost time and earnings. Considering how easily those lost earnings could accelerate your early retirement, you definitely want to take into account how far away you live from the office.

Moreover, when you consider the health and environmental impact that comes with a long commute such as the increased pollution from emissions along with increased stress levels and the risk of developing high blood pressure, you’ll better understand why Metromile is so passionate about rewarding people who spend less time in their cars.

Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance is not only the most practical policy, it’s also one of the few policies available that reward you for your sound lifestyle choices.

To see more details about how expensive a long commute can be, just take a look at the infographic below by InvestmentZen. (more…)

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

The following is a guest post from Scott Huntington, who writes about driving, cars, and more on his blog Off The Throttle and all over the internet. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

You may feel safe on long car trips because you’re a careful driver, but don’t overlook the dangers of drowsy driving. It causes 7% of all crashes in the U.S. and is responsible for more than 20% of fatal vehicle crashes nationwide every year.

drowsy_driving

Drivers who only sleep four to five hours can be as impaired as people who are legally drunk. Even drivers who only get slightly less sleep — one to two hours — have double the risk of crashing than someone who has the required eight hours. There are many reasons that people become drowsy drivers. They may be unable to get sufficient sleep, operate under a chronic sleep debt or having demanding jobs that require them to do activities that lead to fragmented or insufficient sleep.

What can you do if you feel drowsy while driving? First, pull over and take a nap. Even 15 to 20 minutes’ worth of sleep can refresh you enough to make your driving safer. Second, drink two cups of coffee. Caffeine does work to some degree! Wait one-half hour and then resume driving.

When you drive distances of 100 miles or more, take a break every two hours. The breaks will refresh you and keep you alert.

If possible, treat drowsy drivers as you would drunk drivers. Don’t let people who’ve had only a few hours of sleep drive. Call a taxi or ride service, or else have a family member or friend drive them. Appoint a designated driver if you’re expecting a lack of sleep due to a party. This goes double if you plan on drinking.

Above all, awareness is key. If poor habits are the cause of your lack of sleep, make every effort to correct them. Drowsy driving is dangerous, so make every effort to get a good night’s sleep to prevent accidents. If you must drive, take a nap. Make the roads safer for all of us.

5 Safety Tips for Driving in the Dark

Daylight Savings is over, and while that extra hour of sleep was much appreciated, we now face the dreaded dwindling daylight. If you drive to work this likely means a darker commute in the evening. Driving in the dark presents increased dangers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association warns that road fatalities are three times more likely to happen at night. Familiarize yourself with these tips to stay safe during these “darker times.”

driving_at_night

  1. Light the Way
    During the hours before dusk, you’ll often notice a mix of cars using their headlights while others keep them off. When in doubt, turn on your lights. Even if you don’t absolutely need them at this time, it will help other drivers spot you, especially if the sun is setting behind you and obscuring the view of oncoming traffic. In some states like California, it is legally required to have headlights on from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise.
  2. Dim Your Dash
    There’s a reason why your dashboard has a dimmer on it. Driving around with your dash lights on max can compromise your vision, so turn them down to a comfortable level. In general, your map light should be kept totally off while driving, although luxury cars often come equipped with focused reading lights that do not cause glare.
  3. Keep It Clean
    A windshield that appears clean during the day may reveal itself to be foggy at night. Keep a cotton or microfiber cloth in your door pocket for quick touch-ups to ensure full visibility. The same goes for your side view mirrors, as dirty mirrors can cause more glare from car lights behind you. You can also aim these mirrors down slightly to prevent high beams from temporarily blinding your vision. It’s also important to keep your headlights clean so their brightness and clarity remain high. If a headlight burns out, replace it as soon as possible, as it’s often illegal to drive without proper working headlights.
  4. Slow Down
    Visibility is much lower at night, even on well-lit roads. This means it takes longer to see and react to hazards, like pedestrians, cyclists or even animals in more rural areas. Drive slower and give yourself plenty of time to react to any problems, and never “out-drive” your headlights (driving so fast that you can’t stop within the distance illuminated in front of you).
  5. Stay Focused
    Eye fatigue is much more common at night, and you might feel yourself dozing off after a long day at the office. To stay focused, try to keep your eyes moving and constantly scanning the road. Avoid solely focusing on the dividing line in the middle of the road, which can have a “hypnotizing” effect.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared for the long winter (and shorter days) ahead of us. You can also avoid driving at night by taking public transit, so if you find yourself driving less in the winter months, check out Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance to save some money.

Tips for a Drama Free Valet

Picture this: you’ve cruised around the block a few times looking for parking, but you’re going to be late for your dinner reservation if you don’t park your car soon. You notice a parking valet but have no idea what to do. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, which is why we’ve compiled some tips for you to get through valet parking drama free. Often times, especially in larger cities, valet parking can be faster and more affordable than street parking or parking in a parking garage.

valet_tips

Tip in cash. Many people avoid valet parking because they’re unsure of how much to tip. Even if the hotel or restaurant you’re at offers complimentary valet service, have cash on hand for a tip. It’s expected you tip the valet that retrieves your car but you’re entrusting your vehicle with a stranger so leave the valet who takes your car at drop off an unexpected tip as well. If they feel they’ve been treated well, they’re likely to take better care of your items. $2-$5 is pretty standard so expect to tip $4-$10 total for valet parking.
Tidy up and tuck away valuables. Anticipate that you might end up valet parking and clean your car up a little bit so that you’re not embarrassed to hand over the keys. If you have valuables in the car, leave them at home, or tuck them in the trunk or out of sight. Make sure you have everything you’re going to need before you get out of the car!
Know how to handle the drop-off. Drop off and pick up moves quickly, so pay attention to the valet instructions and drive safely and slowly. Leave the car running and don’t take your keys out of the ignition. Let the valet know if there are any problems with the car and confirm price, closing time and how to get your car back. Lastly, don’t leave your car until you’ve been given a claim ticket!
Pick up and pay. It can take 10-20 minutes for the valet to get your vehicle. Always consider calling ahead, especially if you’re at a hotel or a busy restaurant or if you have to be somewhere at a specific time. When you’re ready to leave, find the valet stand and pay your bill. Sometimes hotels will charge your room bill but the head valet will confirm. If it’s complimentary, just don’t forget to tip for service!
Check for damage. In the rush to leave, don’t forget to check for damage or missing valuables before you drive away! If you see any damage or notice any lost items, let the head valet know immediately. Most valet companies will cover these situations but it’s much harder to get compensation if you don’t notice until you are home.

Having trouble finding your car or want to check in to see where it’s parked? Use Metromile’s car location tracker to find your car. Metromile’s smart driving app gives you information on trips and trends, fuel levels, car health diagnoses and more, and is free for all of our pay-per-mile insurance customers. Learn more here!

Your Car’s Been Towed. Now What?

If your car is missing, you’ll want to think through all of the possibilities. Are you sure this is where you left your car? Could it have been stolen? Was it towed? Follow these steps to get your car back as soon as possible.

towed_car

Where’s my car? Check your surroundings for restricted parking signs or indicators that your car may have been towed. If you think you were unfairly towed, be sure to take pictures of the signs. If the signs indicate no parking with a phone number listed, try that number first. If not, try calling the local police department or visit their website.

Some reasons your car could have been towed are blocking a fire hydrant, parking in a “red zone” or “tow zone”, parking in a handicap spot or having unpaid parking violations.

What you’ll need: Once you have located your car, you’ll want to pick it up as soon as possible. Typically, you’ll be responsible for the towing and storage fees, so you don’t want to leave your car there for too long. When you go pick up your car, be sure to bring your driver license, a copy of registration and insurance. You’ll also want to take cash, just in case the lot doesn’t accept credit cards or checks.

Ask questions: Make sure to understand why your car was towed, and read the paperwork you have to sign thoroughly.

Metromile pay-per-mile customers have access to tracking their car’s location and can view it via their Metromile smart driving app. If you’re interested in the smart driving features that are part of Metromile insurance, get a free quote here.

Car Insurance for Newlyweds

It’s wedding season! As couples everywhere tie the knot, they begin to combine their things: their space, their finances, their names, their car insurance. Here are some things to consider when combining car insurance.

joint car insurance

Consider all your options: Chances are, you and your husband may feel some loyalty to the insurance you were already using. Weigh your options for both insurance companies, and check out a few other insurance companies. Get a quotes on adding your significant other to your insurance. Some companies offer discounts for married couples, while others may offer breaks for multiple cars or safe driving records. You’ll want to be sure you are looking at the full picture.

Consider per-mile insurance: If you don’t drive a lot, pay-per-mile insurance could be a great fit for you and your partner. Low mileage drivers save on average $500 a year! You’ll also turn your car into a smart car with our driving app – where you can check your bill, learn about your trips and driving trends, and even diagnose check engine lights. Interested? Get a free quote here.

Consider your coverage: Do you need comprehensive and collision, or just liability? Not sure? Comprehensive coverage covers all incidents that aren’t considered “accidents” like weather or vandalism damage. Collision coverages covers your vehicle in the event of damage due to an accident. Liability insurance doesn’t cover your car, but covers damage to another person resulting in an accident you cause. Learn more about making the right coverage decision.

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Road trip Inspiration: Beautiful Roads

When it comes to a summer road trip, it’s not just about the destination – it’s how you get there. From the original purple mountain majesties to towering skyscrapers, there are many roads worth traveling. Some of our favorites are listed here.

summer road trip

Avenue of the Giants: This 31 mile stretch of California 101 will take you right through the biggest trees in the world: the giant redwoods! Pro tip: Check out Hipcamp for a cool spot to stay overnight in the redwoods.

Bluebonnet trail: Nestled between Austin and Houston is the Bluebonnet trail, covered in wildflowers. Pro tip: Visit between March and May, when the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

The Road to Hana: The road to Hana is a 52 mile drive on the island of Maui from Kahului to Hana down winding roads and passing roadside fruit stands through tall trees and cliffside views. Pro tip: Once you reach Hana, grab lunch at Bruddah Hut BBQ. You won’t regret it.

Lake Shore Drive: With breath-taking views of Lake Michigan and towering skyscrapers, this is a must-drive if you’re taking a trip to Chicago. You’ll drive right past Soldier Field, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo and more. Pro tip: Stop for a famous Chicago hot dog (all the condiments, please!) or a deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s.

Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive with the Great Smoky Mountains. With beautiful sunsets and mountain backgrounds, your jaw will hit the floor. Pro tip: Check out the Humpback rocks at the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you find yourself mostly using your car for weekend trips, you could really benefit from Metromile pay-per-mile insurance. Metromile offers a road trip bonus, so you won’t be charged for any miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in certain states). Get a free quote here. Safe travels!