7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Summer is the perfect time to explore all the awesomeness America has to offer, but if you’re on a budget, you might feel like your options are severely limited. Fear not, ambitious traveler: some of the country’s best landmarks are actually surprisingly affordable, and some are even free! So pack your bags and hop in the car—you have some sights to see:

7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Williamsburg, VA
Step up your U.S. history trivia knowledge and travel to Colonial Williamsburg for some education and culture. If you take advantage of one of the special discounted passes, you can visit multiple historical sites and amusement parks for a fraction of the cost. And don’t forget to ride The Jamestown Ferry for great views—it’s completely free!

The Grand Canyon

If you haven’t made a pilgrimage to this natural wonder in northern Arizona, it’s definitely worth a visit. Officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the iconic canyon measures approximately 277 river miles in length and up to 18 miles in width. While hotels inside the site can be pricey, camping at the canyon can be totally wallet-friendly, and if you save your visit for September (or a few other select calendar dates throughout the year), you can even skip the entrance fee altogether.

Biloxi, MS
Maybe you don’t equate “beach vacation” with Mississippi, but believe it or not, Biloxi is full of sand, surf, and—cha ching!—plenty of casinos. Some of the properties may be high-priced, but if you book a bit in advance, you should be able to secure a spot at one of the town’s hotels for under $100 a night.

Memphis, TN

Where else can you visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland kingdom and tour the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll? Memphis is a super cool destination that simply doesn’t get enough attention for its multitude of tourist offerings—many of which are reasonably priced. If you opt for a Backstage Pass, you gain access to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music for one flat rate of $84.

Greenville, SC
Foodies, take note! Greenville has been making headlines for its burgeoning reputation as a culinary capital, and there’s plenty more to do when you’re not getting your grub on. The Greenville County Museum of Art houses collections by legends like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail is a must for bike riders.

Sequoia National Park

You can’t consider an outdoorsy California adventure complete until if you’ve hit up this majestic location, which is home to some of the world’s tallest trees. Snag a spot at one of the park’s 14 campgrounds to save money on lodging, and stock up on picnic items on your way in to avoid the marked up prices onsite.

Chicago, IL
People need to make a bigger deal out of this city’s stunning architecture and incomparable food scene. You can take in a ton of sights for free, like the Garfield Park Conservatory, and fill up on authentic cuisine for under $10 at classic spots like Portillo’s.

Ready to hit the open road? Make sure you have an insurer who has your back. If you haven’t yet made the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance, visit www.metromile.com today for a free quote.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

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.

5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips for a DIY Car Safety Check

Summer has arrived and it is full of road trips, drives to the beach or pool, and campfires with delicious s’mores. It also means the dog days are here and your car can start to feel like a mini sauna when left outside. Your vehicle might not be used as much in the summer, which may mean the sun is beating down on it all day long while it sits in the driveway. That can’t be good for it – right?

DIY-Car-Safety-Checks

It is never fun dealing with a break-down when you and your loved ones are on the way to somewhere fun and adventurous. Regardless of what season it is, you should regularly check your car to make sure it is in good running condition.

5 DIY Car Safety Checks to Perform Regularly

  1. Tire pressure: This is a regular check you won’t want to miss completing. Luckily, most newer cars will alert you if your tire’s pressure is running lower – #blessed. But, if you have an older vehicle, this is something you will want to check regularly especially when the weather changes. Grab a pneumatic gauge and read up on what your tires recommend air pressure is. If it is running low, take it to the nearest air pump to fill it up to the right level. Do not exceed the max air pressure your tire can hold. Also, don’t neglect your spare tire.
  2. Battery Life: The threshold for a car’s battery is around three years, but it can run out even quicker in the heat of summer. If you start your car and you hear a slow cranking noise, then it might be time to replace it. Try your best to keep your battery clean. Having dirt and grease build-up acts as a conductor which can drain the battery quicker. If you are parked for prolonged periods of time, be sure to start your car every so often to keep the battery level up. Checking your battery is a good to do, especially right before hitting the road for a long trip.
  3. Engine Cooling System: Do a quick look to see if your engine coolant level is full and the liquid doesn’t look dirty. If the coolant level is below the marked line or the fluid isn’t green or orange, then your car can overheat. It is always good to replenish the coolant every so often, especially during these summer months.
  4. Lights and Signals: Make sure that all your headlights and signal lights are working and shining brightly. This is a good way to check to make sure the alignment of your lights is spot on. Do a good cleaning of your headlight covers every once in awhile so they can shine bright like a diamond.
  5. Air Filters: No one wants to breathe in gross air, especially in a confined place like a car. Clean both your engine air filter and your car’s cabin filter. Depending on your air filter type (dry v. oiled) you can use either a vacuum to get the dust and dirt or use a cleaning solution to rinse it off. Having a clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency.

Say hello to summer and feel confident when driving your car. Performing regular safety checks on it will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. If you find that your car is parked in the driveaway during these hot days, more than it’s driving around then pay-per-mile auto insurance might be the perfect fit for you. Our low-mileage customers save on avg. $611 a year when switching to Metromile. Get a free quote now.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

Crashing Cars for Science

At Metromile, we believe car insurance should be fair. Which means your rates should be based on how much you drive, you shouldn’t be held responsible for accidents that you didn’t cause, and filing a claim should be easy. That’s why we created AVA, our artificial intelligence (AI) claims system, who works with the Metromile Pulse device to accurately verify claims and quickly resolve them.

The Metromile Pulse

The Metromile Pulse is a small, GPS-enabled device that measures the miles you drive. Once installed, the Pulse seamlessly and securely counts your miles. And we use these miles to calculate your bill. It’s how the whole pay-per-mile thing works. Using Metromile Pulse sensor data, AVA can reconstruct the scene of an accident to instantly determine if claim details are accurate. In addition, AVA is able to issue instant payments, schedule repairs and coordinate rental car needs, taking care of all the mundane things that can make the claims experience such a hassle. But how does AVA know the difference between a vehicle accident and minor bump? — We taught her.

Training AVA:

The best way to get to the truth of what low-impact and hit-and-run crashes would look like to the Pulse and AVA is to truly measure those collisions in the field. So that’s precisely what we did. We found a couple of used cars and put Pulse devices in them. Then we crashed them. Over, and over again.

Busting Car Insurance Myths

Thanks to the work of our Data Scientists, who were able to create a machine learning technique to distinguish between crash types, AVA can now determine what is, and what is not a “crash event.” So, no matter what life throws at you or your car, Metromile will have your back.

Buy that car, take that trip, and don’t sweat the small things along the way, because Metromile is building a seamless claims experience, from the ground up. Because not every accident is the same, and we want to know all the facts, so we can help get you back on the road faster. Get a free quote today and join the Metromile fam – we’re always one call, tap, or click away. Be safe out there and see you on the roads!

How “Aware” of Insurance Are You?

Wedged between Flag Day and the Fourth of July is the summer holiday you probably didn’t know you needed: Insurance Awareness Day. That’s right—June 28 is the day Americans are encouraged to educate themselves on their current policies and make sure they’re getting the coverage they need. We’re not totally sure what constitutes an appropriate way to celebrate this annual event (would streamers and balloons be overkill?), but we do know the day is a great excuse to get familiar with the ins and outs of insurance and feel confident that you’re covered.

pay-per-mile car insurance

While Insurance Awareness Day may not get the same Hallmark treatment as some other national commemorations, the holiday is worth recognizing. After all, according to a survey from car insurance comparison marketplace, The Zebra, 81 percent of consumers say they have the coverage they need, but 99 percent failed to correctly identify 10 basic coverage types and terms. Potentially more shocking? Twenty-two percent of respondents didn’t even realize they’re required by law to have car insurance. Scary, right?

You may know a thing or two about car insurance (or you may be part of that twenty-two percent—that’s okay! No judgment!). No matter how much knowledge you think you’ve got, it’s always a great idea to brush up on the basics and feel safe, secure, and satisfied with your coverage.

Why Insurance Coverage Is a Must

While most people do know they need car insurance, far fewer probably know why. Like any other kind of security, car insurance protects you (and your passengers) in case of an unexpected incident, like an accident, theft, damage, etc. Every state requires drivers to have some kind of insurance plan, but the specific requirements vary based on location. Regardless of where you live though, the local law does require you to prove you can pay damages in the event of an accident.

It seems straightforward, but car insurance can get a lot more complex than that. There are various types that offer different levels of protection; some are required and some are optional. Understanding the factors that go into determining the type of coverage you need can help you find a plan that’s got your back at a premium that won’t break the bank.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Policy

Unless you’re an insurance professional, chances are you’re a little perplexed by all the paperwork that comes with coverage. Getting to know a few key terms can help you get up to speed:

  • Declaration page: This refers to the first page (or several pages) of your policy that states the name of the person insured, their address, the insurance provider, the policy term, coverage limits, and other key facts about the plan and who it’s covering.
  • Coverage: This one seems simple, but there are various types of car insurance coverage available:

    • Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is required by most states to cover costs related to injuries or deaths to other people in the event of an accident that’s your fault.
    • Property Damage Liability (PD) covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property if you’re at fault in an accident.
    • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) covers you in an accident if other driver is at-fault and uninsured.
    • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) is very similar to UMBI but pays up to the limit for expenses in case the other driver is at-fault for the accident but can’t cover your costs because of their own plan’s insufficient liability limits.
    • Medical Payments could pay the medical deductibles and copayments that aren’t covered by your health insurer, or the insurer of any of your passengers.
    • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers your medical costs regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
    • Comprehensive coverage can be helpful if your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision.
    • Collision coverage covers you if your car collides with another object (like a car, a brick wall, a tree, etc).
    • Collision Deductible Waiver coverage isn’t available in every state, but if you have it, your collision deductible will be waived in case you’re in accident with an uninsured at-fault driver.
    • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage pays for damages to your car if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Deductible: The out-of-pocket amount you have to pay after a covered event (like an accident, theft, or weather damage) before your insurance kicks in. It’s basically your financial responsibility in case anything happens. For example, if your car requires $5,000 in repairs, and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll have to pay $1,000 before your insurer will pay the remaining $4,000. Your car insurance deductible will be applied for each claim you file (unlike health insurance deductibles which apply across the calendar year). That means if you submit two car insurance claims in a year, you’ll have to pay your deductible both times.
  • Premium: Your premium is the amount of money you pay your insurer to provide coverage for qualifying claims. The amount you pay is based on a variety of factors, including type and amount of coverage you want, the type of car you drive, your location, your driving record, your credit history, your age, your gender, and marital status.
  • Claim: A demand made by the insured person for provide coverage and compensation from the insurance company in the event of a loss, subject to the terms of the insurance policy contract.
  • Risk Assessment: This is how likely the insurer thinks it will be that you’ll file a claim, based on your driving record and other factors—this determines your rate.

How to Pick The Coverage That’s Right For You

To say car insurance is confusing is a major understatement. To know which kind of coverage you need, it’s best to ask yourself a series of questions so you can figure out the right policy for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • How much coverage do you need (and what’s required by your state)?
  • How much do you drive?
  • What’s your risk assessment?
  • Who will the policy cover?
  • What will your deductible be?
  • Is your car leased or financed?
  • Will you be driving for work?

Still confused? We don’t blame you—auto coverage can be a thorny issue. To ring in Insurance Awareness Day this year, why not visit metromile.com? You’ll find lots more information and have the chance to get a free quote. Now that’s the perfect way to celebrate.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

Committed to Innovation: The Master of Science in Data Science Program at the University of San Francisco

Here at Metromile, we are all about making car insurance more fair and less painful — some may call this a lofty goal. We know that all it takes to make auto insurance simple and seamless is a bit of data, some science, a lot of technology, and a dash of magic. From the outside looking in, revolutionizing the auto insurance industry may seem easy, but take a peek under our insurance hood, and you’ll quickly realize that it takes a lot of systemization to keep this engine running. And at a company whose whole mission is to reinvent ways to manage risk, it should come as no surprise that our Data Science team is constantly buzzing; building and testing new models and furiously working to analyze Metromile data to find new opportunities to fix how insurance is traditionally “done.”

pay-per-mile car insurance

Revolutionizing an antiquated industry is no easy feat. It takes a village – a village of brilliant humans that are constantly iterating and innovating. One of the best ways to foster a culture of innovation is to work with local University programs like The Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) Program at the University of San Francisco. It’s a win-win for both us, and the University because it gives students valuable business experience, and it gives us insight into new data patterns, trends, and opportunities.

The Program

The Practicum Program at USF pairs students with bay area companies, allowing them to apply their skills to gain experience, and reconcile mathematical theory with business practice. Each student is expected to create and refine a project with their partner company for 16 hours per week, while concurrently taking classes. This past Winter and Spring, we were lucky enough to have two USF students join us, Chenxi and Fang. They have spent the past six months trying to read mileage from odometer pictures, which can be used to correct the mileage measurements we receive from the Pulse device. This gets to the crux of what makes Metromile different from traditional insurers – we charge for insurance by the mile, so exact mileage is very important, and we are always looking for new ways to track mileage! Chenxi and Fang utilized some deep learning techniques, like the U-net model, in order to deal with object segmentation problems in computer vision.

The Project

During their time at Metromile, Chenxi and Fang applied state of the art techniques to real-world problems and gained experience using deep learning to solve computer vision challenges. Asking Chenxi and Fang what the most challenging part of their project was, they posited that the most taxing aspect was also what they learned the most from, “trying to solve a problem with limited resources and a relatively small dataset. We tried various ways to enlarge the dataset we have, as well as adjust the algorithms we used to overcome the issue.”

When asked whether or not they experienced a breakthrough moment, both Chenxi and Fang concluded. “There were several breakthrough moments during our work on this project, but the process is gradual and requires constant inputs and modification. The biggest challenge of our practicum was the project itself – extracting mileage from the odometer and correctly distinguishing that information from other similar numbers has turned out to be difficult. Luckily, our mentors have been patient and resourceful and have helped us a lot.”

One of these mentors, Chetan Ramaiah – a Data Science Manager here at Metromile – oversaw the internship program and recalled that Metromile had previously hired a 2016 participant of the program. It was the success from previous years that encouraged him to place Metromile in the program again. “The experiments conducted by Chenxi and Fang helped us identify a state of the art solution to a difficult research problem, and the process helped identify the various difficulties in modeling a solution to the problem. In addition, both Chenxi and Fang helped establish a benchmark on the quality of internship candidates.”

Internships at Metromile

According to Chetan, the project was a success.“The project adds a new dimension to Metromile’s mileage tracking abilities. The odometer project can independently verify and improve our mileage tracking from the Pulse and the OBD-II port.” Metromile looks forward to participating in the Practicum in coming years, and plans on taking on more Data Science and Engineer interns next summer. If you are interested in applying for an internship with Metromile please contact David Clifford, Director of Data Science (dclifford@metromile.com) or Mike Dicarlo, VP of Engineering (mdicarlo@metromile.com).

Teen Driving Safety Tips

As a parent, there’s almost nothing scarier than handing the car keys to your teenager and watching them drive away. You cross your fingers, hoping and praying that the years of teaching and giving life lessons to them has paid off. Out of anyone, new drivers need the most practice to get the hang of things – so there are a few tips that teens should know before getting behind the wheel.

Teen-Driving-Safety-Tips

Your teenager sees their driver’s license as their key to freedom. However, teenagers have a higher rate of fatal crashes due to their lack of skills, experience, and maturity. It’s crucial to instill safe driving tips and techniques in teens before they hit the roads. Keep reading for our best tips for teens to stay safe while driving!

Teen Driving Safety Tips

  1. Lead by example. If a teen spends time in the car with a parent who practices safe driving, they are much more likely to follow suit. Be a good role model for your teen and don’t text/talk and drive or participate in other distracting activities while behind the wheel. Don’t forget that your teen begins learning to drive by watching you, their parent. Leading by example is a great way to instill safe driving habits in your teenager before they ever sit in the driver’s seat.
  2. Talk to them. Spend time talking to your teenager about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. The conversation doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or awkward. Let them know that if they are even in a situation where they’ve been drinking or taking drugs that they should call you for a ride no matter what. We were all teenagers once, and perhaps many of us wish that our parents had taken the time to talk to us about doing the right thing when it comes to driving and being safe behind the wheel.
  3. Prohibit distracted driving. Did you know that 1 in 3 teens say that they have texted while driving? Research has shown that dialing a phone number while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by 6 times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times. Remind your teen that driving is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and set consequences for distracted driving. Consider suspending their privileges to drive or taking away the keys if they break a distraction rule you’ve set. Beyond the rules in your own household, make your teen aware of the penalties for distracted driving in your state. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have in the vehicle, or the hours your teen is allowed drive, is also an effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver.
  4. Teach them defensive driving skills. Earlier this month, we covered the importance of defensive driving. Teach your teen that by practicing defensive driving, they’re putting themselves in a proactive position rather than simply reacting to the potential hazards on the roads. For example, teach them to always try to look 15 seconds ahead to anticipate hazards. This practice of defensive driving reduces the likelihood of a collision, may reduce fuel consumption, and ensures a smooth ride for your teen and their passengers.

Teaching your teen safe driving tips is one of the most important things that you – as a parent – can do for your child. You’ve been driving for years and the skill has become second-nature to you, but don’t forget that you were once a teenager and sat behind the wheel for the first time. Your teenager is nervous, a little scared, but most of all, excited – make sure they understand the importance of staying safe behind the wheel before handing them the keys to their freedom! Also, be sure to grab a free quote from Metromile to see how much you could be saving. We might end up being the best option for the newly-minted driver in your household. Be safe 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

Staying Healthy on a Road Trip

Whether you’re a full-time student or you haven’t taken a final since the last century, you might be feeling that familiar summer vacation itch—once June hits, just about everyone seems to be feeling ready to skip town and let loose. Rather than fight the urge, why not hit the road?

Staying-Healthy-on-a-Road-Trip

Road trips can be quick, convenient, and totally fulfilling. In fact, according to MMGY Global, one of the country’s largest travel and hospitality marketing firms, road trips accounted for about 22 percent of vacations taken by United States travelers in 2015, and 39 percent the following year. Thanks to the flexibility of the stop-and-go mode of travel and the elimination of all that airport hassle, vacationers love exploring all of America’s awesomeness from behind the wheel.

But if you’ve been spending the rest of the year trying to stay healthy, camping out in your car for eight-or-so hours a day during a summer road trip may not sound like a great lifestyle choice. The good news is, there are super simple ways you can prepare for a more active, wholesome, all-around healthy vacation on wheels. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Pack snacks. Obviously, great food is one of the key features of a solid road trip, but as you probably guessed, most gas station snacks aren’t exactly nutrient-dense. Rather than filling the front seat with bags of chips and candy bars, pack a cooler with good-for-you treats like fruit, carrots, yogurt, string cheese, and more. Trail mix, raw nuts, and granola are all great options too, but you may want to portion them out ahead of time to avoid accidentally consuming a day’s worth of calories in a single stretch of highway.
  2. Sip between stops. It’s easy to forget to hydrate when you’re belting your heart out to cheesy pop songs (a road trip must), but it’s crucial to keep a bottle of H20 handy at all times. Reusable, BPA-free bottles are your best bet, and you can add some ice to keep things cool. You definitely don’t want to let dehydration set in since it can zap your energy—not a good thing when you’re operating heavy machinery (or ever, really).
  3. Move your body. Just because you’re sitting most of the day doesn’t mean you have to be totally sedentary. Make it a point to schedule in stops several times a day, and get some steps in before you get back in the car. Also be sure to stretch your hip flexors, shoulders, and neck, since these areas are likely to get tight and tense after a long day of driving.
  4. Slather on the SPF. A classic mistake drivers make is forgoing the sunscreen. Just because you’re technically not outside, the sun’s rays are still beating down on your exposed skin. Be sure to apply SPF generously, and reapply every few hours.
  5. Never, ever (ever) use your phone while driving. This should go without saying, but texting, Tweeting, checking the map, changing the music, etc. should not be happening while you’re behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone If you have a co-pilot or pals in the backseat, have them keep your phone out of your sight and keep their own use to a minimum. Enjoy the open road, and leave the phone for later.

Feeling inspired yet? Pick a perfect destination and start driving! And if you need an insurer that has your back, hit up Metromile: visit metromile.com/insurance to learn more and get a quick quote. Happy trails!

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

The Complete Guide to Adapting Your Vehicle

Whether you have a disabled family member or you yourself are living with a disability, you know that disabilities come with their own set of challenges. However, being disabled doesn’t automatically mean that you need to give up your freedom and hand over your car keys. Now more than ever, there are technologies available to adapt vehicles to meet your specific needs. These new technologies will continue to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive safely and comfortably. Your vehicle should act as a workhorse in your life, and the good news is that adapting your vehicle to suit your disability is now simpler than ever.

The-Complete-Guide-to-Adapting-Your-Vehicle

Don’t know where to start? Here at Metromile, we believe that all of our customers should feel empowered to take to the open road with confidence. That’s why we’re here to answer questions you didn’t even know you had about adapting your vehicle to fit your needs. Here’s a breakdown of what types of tools, technology, etc., that you’ll need to adapt your vehicle. Let’s get into it!

Evaluate Your Needs

The first step in this process is evaluating what your needs are. A driver rehabilitation specialist will perform a comprehensive evaluation and will determine the adaptive equipment that best fits your needs. See how to get in touch with a specialist here!

Here’s what you can expect the specialist to evaluate:

  • Vision
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Judgement and decision-making abilities

The specialist will also assess your ability to drive with the adaptive equipment and how the equipment will wear on your body over time. Once finished with the evaluation, the specialist will provide a comprehensive report containing driving requirements/restrictions, as well as specific recommendations for future adaptive equipment.

Finding the Right Vehicle

Now comes the fun part – car shopping! Finding the right vehicle to meet your needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Keep the following in mind when you’re car shopping and you’ll be good as gold.

Here are the questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle:

  • Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity to accommodate and carry the equipment you require?
  • Does the vehicle have the space and capacity to accommodate your family members or other passengers when it is loaded/modified with the equipment you require?
  • Will there be adequate parking space at home and work to fit the vehicle? How about when you’re loading/unloading a wheelchair? What if you use a walker?
  • Are there any additional options that are necessary for the vehicle to be safely operated?

There are also some features that you can look for in a potential vehicle, such as:

  • High or extra-wide doors
  • Large interior door handles
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Large/oversized knobs with clearly marked labels
  • Support handles to assist with entering and exiting the vehicle (this is also a handy tool that fits in most car door jambs!)
  • Seat adjusters that can move in all directions
    • Specifically, a seat adjuster that can raise the seat so the driver’s line of sight is 3 inches above the adjusted steering wheel
  • Dashboard-mounted ignition (rather than steering column-mounted ignition)

Remember that your mobility equipment dealer and your driver rehabilitation specialist are qualified to ensure the vehicle you select can be modified to meet your adaptive equipment needs.

Safety Tips

As a rule of thumb: both new and advanced drivers will need safety training on how to use the new adaptive equipment. Literature and off-road training will not be sufficient, as most types of adaptive equipment are quite complex. It is important to meet with your driver rehabilitation specialist for on-the-road training of your new equipment because they have the expertise and extensive knowledge of adaptive technologies.

Additionally, make sure that your vehicle is always in tip-top condition before hitting the road. Keep a running checklist and be sure to check it often for things such as:

  • Proper tire pressure
  • Frequent oil changes
  • Fluid levels (power steering, brake fluid, and engine coolant)

Keep in mind that your adaptive equipment may need more frequent check-ups or special attention than the rest of your regular vehicle maintenance!

Remember: just because life handed you or a family member a disability does not mean that you have to give up all of your freedom. There are so many great adaptive technologies available now, the key is figuring out with ones are right for you. Be sure to check out Metromile to get a free quote – it only takes a moment and could end up saving you a pretty penny! Be safe 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

9 Ways to Avoid Getting Your Car Stolen

Grand theft auto is on the rise, and no we aren’t referring to the video game! Vehicle theft has doubled in the past few years, and the trend continues to rise. According to the FBI, in 2016, 5.9 billion dollars were lost to motor vehicle theft. Yup, you read that right – billion with a “B.” This significant amount of dollars equates to 765,484 total vehicle thefts in the U.S., 60,000 of which happened in the L.A. area. Recovering stolen vehicles is possible, but 42% of the cars stolen aren’t ever recovered, which could mean saying sayonara to your precious baby forever.

Tips-for-Vehicle-Theft-Prevention-

Vehicle theft can either be considered a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and the state in which the defendant committed the crime. Most charges will include jail/prison time, restitution, a fine, or probation – yikes! The punishment may also be worse, depending on the value of the car.

If the stakes are so high, why are the instances of vehicle theft also so high?

The main reason is that vehicle parts are seen as a quick and easy way to make a profit. Some stolen vehicles get taken to “chop shops” where they are stripped down, and parts are sold to other auto shops or single buyers. Others “hot cars” will be sold for scrap metal or rushed out of the country. Still, other stolen cars are often concealed by “VIN-switching” which hides the identity of the stolen vehicle with a wrecked or salvaged vehicle. The stolen car is then sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Remember, it is always important to do your due diligence and research when buying auto parts or vehicles. If it seems fishy, then trust your gut!

To best prevent theft first you need to know some facts:

    Most common type of stolen vehicle (according to NICB):
    1. 1997 Honda Accord
    2. 1998 Honda Civic
    3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
    4. 2004 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
    5. 2016 Toyota Camry
    Top methods by criminals to steal a motor vehicle:
    1. Theft of an unattended vehicle that consists of breaking an entering and then hotwiring and tampering with your car to start the vehicle to make their quick getaway.
    2. Stealing the car when it is unattended but the keys are left in the ignition.
    3. Carjacking happens when a vehicle is taken by force or threat from the driver.
    4. Purchasing a vehicle through fraudulent funds or the use of counterfeit checks.

Now that we have thoroughly freaked you out and made you panic about getting your car stolen, we are here to make you feel a little better.

Follow these tips to avoid vehicle theft:

  1. NEVER leave your car running or keys in the ignition. Even when pumping your gas or you are just going to BRB. Turn off your car no matter what and take your keys with you.
  2. Remove all personal belongings and valuables from your ride before leaving it. If you can’t do that, at least put them out of sight or in the trunk of your car.
  3. Park in a well-lit and populated area. Find parking that is near building entrances or close to security cameras.
  4. Don’t forget to roll up your windows and double check your car is locked, even if it is parked outside your house.
  5. Get your vehicle VIN etched on the windows, doors, fenders and trunk lid.
  6. Invest in an anti-theft device such as audible alarms, steering wheel locks, brake locks, a kill switch, lojack, or onstar. In some states, Metromile offers a discount for having a anti-theft or recovery device installed.
  7. Due your research before buying a car and look up the VIN to see if there is any history of the car. The National Insurance Crime Bureau provides a VIN check to see if the vehicle has been reported as a salvage or stolen.
  8. Use your noggin. If something doesn’t feel right or seems not a safe place to park or store your vehicle then trust your instinct.
  9. Be a Metromile customer. You will always know where your car is through our Smart Driving app and the help of the Pulse device. If your vehicle does happen to be stolen, our Pulse device can help track down where your stolen vehicle is.

If the worst happens and you discover your car is stolen, don’t panic, make a few phone calls to the police, your insurance company, and to the DMV, to report what has happened. If you are a Metromile customer, you won’t have to worry and we will be there for you in your time of need. Interested in learning how Metromile is disrupting the insurance industry, get a free quote today.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.