Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

Getting older is tough on everyone. With every passing year, the time seems to go by faster than ever. As we age, our driving abilities can become affected – which is dangerous for both ourselves and those on the road with us. Something that once seemed like second nature, like turning your head to look for oncoming traffic, suddenly become more difficult.

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However, there are some tips to keep aging drivers on the road safely. Let’s dive in!

Safe Driving Tips for Older Drivers

    1. Take stock of your health. Make yourself a checklist and go down the list, one time at a time.

      1. Do you have any pain or stiffness? This may affect your ability to turn the wheel or look in the mirrors.
      2. Have you been diagnosed with any chronic conditions (i.e. diabetes, seizures, etc.)? A chronic condition may affect your safety on the road, so it’s best to discuss this with a doctor before continuing to get behind the wheel.
      3. Do you tire easily? Aging drivers may experience fatigue more often than younger drivers, which affects how long you’re able to drive.
      4. Do you feel stressed? Feeling stressed can affect other health conditions that may be present in aging drivers, such as heart disease. Again, it’s best to chat with your doctor about the best options for your health as you age.

    2. Schedule regular hearing and vision tests. Often times, the bodily systems that we once relied on every day begin to fail us as we age. Vision problems that affect seniors – such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration – make it difficult to see clearly and make it especially difficult to drive at night. Impaired hearing can affect your ability to hear oncoming traffic, such as emergency vehicles or trains. Check with your doctor on how often your vision and hearing should be evaluated, and be sure to stick to your doctor’s recommended schedule (even if you think you’re fine!).

    3. Stay active! Often times, keeping your body physically active is the best way to stave off the effects of aging. Staying active keeps your flexibility and strength at the top of its game and may allow you to continue to drive well into your older years. Walking is a great way to stay active, and incorporating stretching and strength training will also help keep your body in peak physical condition.

    4. Check your medications for side effects. If you’re managing a health condition with prescription medication, always be sure to read the label and check for side effects of the medication. If the prescription bottle states that you should not operate heavy machinery, do not drive (a car definitely counts as heavy machinery!). If the medication doesn’t list any warnings but you still feel as though your cognitive or physical abilities are affected, contact your doctor – they may advise you to find a different means of transportation while on the medication.

    5. Understand and acknowledge that you may have limitations. You can’t do everything you used to do when you were younger, and that’s okay. If you’re having difficulties with your current vehicle, look into swapping it for a vehicle that is more suited for your current needs. For example, if you find driving over potholes or speed bumps jarring, look for a vehicle with a softer suspension to make those a bit easier on you. Cars with larger, easier-to-see dials, odometers, etc. are also popular with older drivers. Additionally, many newer vehicles have built-in systems to help with changing lanes safely, parking, and backing up – all which can help an aging driver maintain their independence.

    6. Take a refresher course. You’ve been driving a long time – maybe you didn’t even take driver’s education and your parents or older sibling taught you how to drive one Saturday afternoon! Consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. It will help you stay on top of the current rules of the road, and you might even learn a thing or two! Look for courses available through a community education program or local organizations that serve seniors and older adults.

As we age, we also tend to start driving less frequently. If you’ve recently found that you are driving less, Metromile may be the perfect solution for you. Be sure to get a free quote today and find out how much you could be saving by switching to Metromile!

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

Safety on the Road

Welcome to National Safety Month! Us Metromilers take safety pretty seriously. Did you know that in 2017 alone, more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes? Here at Metromile, we are determined to decrease that statistic and make our roads a safer place for everyone.

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The three most prevalent causes of fatalities on the road are speeding, drunk/drowsy driving, and distracted driving. If we all pitch in and do our part, we can reduce the amount of vehicle-related deaths. Let’s do it, Metromilers!

Speeding

First up, let’s address the number one cause of vehicle-related fatalities: speeding. Speeding is a danger to everyone on the road – not just the driver. In 2016 alone, speeding killed 10,111 people, which is a horrifying statistic to wrap our heads around. We get it – we’re all busy and usually running late to something, but going faster than the posted speed limit will only get you to your destination mere seconds before going the speed limit will. The speed limit is there to protect all road users and is not just another annoying policy to keep in mind when driving.

The consequences of speeding are more than just breaking the law – they can be deadly. When you speed, you have a greater potential for losing control of your vehicle. This leads to increased stopping distance if there’s a hazard in the road, and increased degree of severity in the event of a crash.

As a driver on the road, there are things you can do to watch your own speeds and ensure that you are not a danger to yourself or others. Pay attention to posted speed limits and abide by them. Avoid driving aggressively and be courteous of other drivers and road users. If you anticipate traffic on the way to your destination, try to leave a little bit earlier to alleviate stress associated with running late. If you’re already going to be late, speeding is not going to change that fact! Arriving two minutes earlier won’t matter if you’re already arriving late, so try not to stress.

As a member of your community, you can do your part to bring an end to speeding. Participate in a speed management program – NHTSA delivers a Speed Management Program course to State and local jurisdictions. The course uses a multidisciplinary approach to address speeding problems in states and local communities.

Impaired Driving

The second cause of vehicle-related fatalities: impaired driving. This includes driving while drunk, on drugs, or drowsy. This type of driving is entirely irresponsible and entirely preventable. In the United States alone, 29 people die every day from alcohol-impaired driving-related incidents.

If you’ve been drinking or taking drugs (some prescription medications count, too), never get behind the wheel. Always have a sober friend or a designated driver drive you, or Uber/Lyft your way home. Also, did you know that driving drowsy is just as bad as driving drunk? Being awake for 18 hours straight has the same effect on your brain as a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours, the effect doubles – it has the same effect on your brain as a .10 blood alcohol level. If you’re feeling drowsy, always pull over and rest before getting back on the road – don’t try to chug coffee and speed to your destination to get there faster because it won’t work; the only true remedy for drowsiness is sleep.

Communities should come together to stand against impaired driving. It is especially important to make teens and new drivers aware of the dangers of impaired driving. Many teens do not get enough sleep at the same time that their biological need for sleep increases, thereby increasing the risk of drowsy driving accidents – especially on longer trips. Each November, the National Sleep Foundation conducts Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in an effort to reduce the number of drowsy driving crashes. Let’s do our part to reduce impaired driving – both drunk and drowsy. If everyone makes an effort, it will have a larger-scale impact on our communities!

Distracted Driving

We’ve all heard the statistics: every day in the US, 9 people are killed in a texting and driving related accident. That’s not a meaningless number – every single digit is a human life that was ended as a direct result of distracted driving. Texting is the number one distraction impairing drivers on the road today! Traveling at 55 mph, you can cover the length of an entire football field by taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. Let that sink in for a moment.

When you’re behind the wheel, you have one job: to get to your destination safely and without harming anyone else. In order to reduce the amount of people killed in distracted-driving related accidents, we all have to do our part. Never, ever text and drive! If you absolutely must respond to that chirping notification, pull over and put the car in park before even looking at your phone. In addition to texting, distracted driving can also mean updating or scrolling through social media, changing your Spotify playlist, or talking on the phone. Have your passenger help you by acting as the car DJ or posting to social for you; let’s find any way to limit the amount of distracted driving accidents! Also, check out our post here for more tips on reducing distracted driving.

By taking action and working together, we can all make the roads a safer place for everyone. From reducing your speed, to never getting behind the wheel impaired, to making it a personal policy that you never text and drive, every little bit counts. Let’s all do our part to drive safely – after all, we’re in this together! Don’t forget that you can always grab a free quote from Metromile to find out how much you could be saving on your car insurance. Be 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

Baby on Board: Driving Safe With Kids in the Car

Driving in and of itself can be stressful (think: road rage, traffic jams, and the frustration of finding a good soundtrack), but add a young passenger into the mix, and the open road can suddenly feel like a war zone.

Whether you’re running errands with an infant or tooling around town with a niece or nephew, it’s important to know the ways to maximize safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among kids in the United States: In 2015, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and nearly 132,000 were injured.

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Here are some tips for keeping kids protected in the car:

    1. Know the Car Seat Rules. Laws vary from state to state, but based on the latest research, infants and toddlers should always ride in rear-facing backseat carriers until they’re at least two years old or reach the height and weight allowed by the seat manufacturer, according to organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once kids outgrow the rear-facing seat, they should then use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible (up to the highest weight or height indicated by the manufacturer). Never put a rear-facing seat in the front of the car — airbags can be deadly to young passengers.

    2. Buckle Up the Right Way. Once kids outgrow the forward-facing seats, it’s time to upgrade to a belt-positioning booster until the car’s seat belt fits properly (usually when a kid reaches 4 feet 9 inches and is over the age of five). When kids are big enough for the seat belt to properly fit their frame, lap and shoulder belts are a must, and kids under 13 should stay in the back seat (again, airbags can cause fatal injuries to young children). Buckling up is critical at every stage of life, and it’s an essential rule to implement at an early age: according to the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, only 53 percent of high school students reported always wearing a safety belt when riding with someone else.

    3. Eliminate All Distractions. This is seriously scary: one study found that 98 percent (!) of parents driving with a child report being preoccupied for nearly a third of the time they’re on the road. That’s no joke, especially when you consider the fact that distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people in 2016 alone, according to the United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA). Put the phone far out of reach, familiarize yourself with the roads, and forget about primping in the rearview or snacking until you’re safely parked.

    4. Pull Over To Deal With Must-Dos. Kids get fussy — it happens. But according to a poll from American Baby in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, 55 percent of moms admit to driving above the speed limit in order to make it to daycare or to get home with their crying baby faster. Speeding up and driving hastily is only going to increase your risk for an accident. It’s better to pull over to deal with a mood meltdown and run late than push your luck by accelerating over the limit.

    5. Always Stay Close. Leaving kids in the car is always a bad idea, even if you’re just running out for a quick minute. Children die every year from heatstroke — many of whom were left unattended in cars. Allowing children to play near a parked car should be a no-go too. If you’re backing out of the driveway, always take the time to circle your vehicle and make sure no children are in the vicinity and at risk of being hit.

Another important way to protect the whole family is to find a car insurance company that has your back. Visit metromile.com for a free quote today.

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.

20 Tips for Becoming a Safer Driver

Safe Driving is the first step in preventing accidents on the road. June is National Safety Month and to celebrate we will be advocating all month long for driving safety. This month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, in our homes and communities, and on the road. Vehicle safety is more important than ever since statistics are showing that auto accidents are on the rise. We understand that there are more distractions than ever while driving these days; the map on your car’s dashboard won’t work, the kids are screaming in the backseat, and your cell phone is buzzing, but it is your responsibility when you get behind a wheel to ensure your and others safety.

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Here are 20 Actions You Can Take to Become A Safer Driver:

    1. Focus on driving. Keep your attention and eyes on the road at all times. No-multi-tasking while driving, put all the distractions away and focus on what is happening around you.

    2. Plan Ahead. Everyone is always running late which can cause high speeds and distracted driving. Wake up a little bit earlier so you can leave for your commute a few minutes earlier. Doing so will help you slow down. Give yourself some extra time in case there are accidents on your route, or you need to stop for gas along the way.

    3. In the case of an accident, focus your eyes on where to go. When spinning out of control, focus your eyes on where you want your car to be rather than the object that it might hit. Because of hand-eye coordination, if your eyes are looking right then, your vehicle will also go right.

    4. Maintain control when tires blow out. Try your best to keep the car driving in a straight line and slow your speed. Have two hands on the wheel and pull over to a safe place when able. Don’t slam on the brakes or try to speed during this time, it can cause worse damage to your tire and can make maintaining control harder.

    5. Go the speed limit. It seems pretty simple, but the speed limit signs are there for a reason; to protect you and others on the road. If you are speeding more damage can be caused when an accident does occur. Remember: it is okay to maintain the correct speed limit and let others pass by you.

    6. Get your road rage under control. Road rage can cause unnecessary aggressive driving. Take a deep breath and cool down before taking out your anger on the road or other vehicles/drivers around you.

    7. Watch the weather. During inclement weather, drive at slower speeds to avoid skidding on ice or hydroplaning. Turn your lights on day or night when it is raining or if there is fog. Remember: when the weather is terrible, go easy on the brakes to maintain better control over your vehicle.

    8. Look both ways at an intersection. It only takes a few seconds to look both ways before going again after the light turns green. Before you cross, take a quick peak left and right to be sure that no other cars are coming through the intersection.

    9. Keep your distance. No one likes a tailgater. The rule of thumb is to be three seconds apart from the car in front of you. Double that amount if there happens to be bad weather. Don’t underestimate the amount of stopping distance you need between yourself and the car in front of you.

    10. Grip the steering wheel correctly. Keep your hands at 10 and 2. Keeping a good grip on the wheel is helpful when avoiding hazards on the road.

    11. Stay alert and awake. If you do find yourself feeling sleepy, the best thing to do is pull over and take a short nap. If you recognize you are too tired before you drive then it is best to stay home and avoid being behind the wheel at all. If you can’t avoid driving, think about opening a window to feel the breeze or singing along to a song to help keep you alert.

    12. Wear your seatbelt the right way. Make sure the lap and shoulder belt is snug and that you are wearing the lap part of the seatbelt on your hips. Seatbelts are there to protect you and others from being thrown from the car if an accident happens. Wearing it saves lives, so just do it.

    13. Pay attention to the flow of traffic. Sometimes signs are helpful, but just because a light or a sign is saying you have the right away, doesn’t always mean that is what is actually happening. Focus on the traffic flow and what other drivers are doing too.

    14. Pick the right music station. Calming music can help keep you calm on the road. But intense music can distract you and not keep you as focused as you should be. Fiddling with your radio station or music is extremely distracting while driving, so be sure to set your tunes before you start your trip.

    15. Look as far ahead as you can. You should try and focus your eyes past the first few cars in front of you. Doing so will keep you prepared for what is ahead.

    16. Keep your headlights on. Driving with your lights on during the day can help others be more aware of you on the road.

    17. Use your parking brake more. If you don’t use it regularly, your parking brake can stop working correctly. Parking breaks prevent your call from rolling when parked on an incline. They can also act as an emergency brake if your regular brakes stop working.

    18. Don’t break during a tire blow out. If you lay on the brakes when you have a tire blow out, it can potentially cause your car to flip into another vehicle or median. Do the opposite of what you think, hit the gas slightly and try to stay as straight as possible.

    19. No Drinking and Driving. Although this seems like it should be common sense, there are many people out there that do decide to get behind the wheel after they have had one too many drinks. Do yourself and all of us a favor and call a rideshare or cab.

    20. Put your phone away. Our phones are one of the biggest distractions when it comes to driving. Newer phones have the drive mode feature, where it will answer a text from a friend back saying that you are driving right now. The best way to avoid looking at your phone is putting it out of sight.

Follow the rules of the road and be courteous to other drivers. No distraction is worth a car crash or a life. June may be National Safety Month, but safety should be practiced 24/7 while driving. Here at Metromile, we want you to be safe on the road whenever possible. If you find that you don’t drive much or that you are spending less time on the road, then pay-per-mile auto insurance could be an excellent fit for you. Get a fast and 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.

Why Defensive Driving Matters

One crucial thing all new drivers learn in their first year on the road: you cannot control what other drivers are going to do. However, as time goes on, many people don’t retain these skills and simply become reactionary on the road. After your years of white-knuckling the wheel have passed you by, defensive driving still holds true – and it is just as important as that first day you sat in the driver’s seat.

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Defensive driving matters. By practicing defensive driving, you’re putting yourself in a proactive position rather than simply reacting to the potential hazards on the roads. You are putting yourself and the other drivers and passengers around you in a safer position by constantly retaining awareness of your surroundings. For example, 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 you and your passengers (anyone who gets car sick knows this is very important).

So, what can you do to ensure you are driving defensively? Let’s throw it all the way back to driver’s ed. Here are our best tips for defensive driving, Metromilers.

Our Best Defensive Driving Tips

    1. Maintain a 3-second gap between you and the car in front of you. You never know when someone is going to slam on their brakes!
    2. Always use your turn signal; signal early and signal often. This is especially important when changing lanes, because the other drivers on the road can’t read your mind and are focused on staying in their own lane! Also, try to minimize lane changes, if possible.
    3. Know where you want to go. If you’re confused and lost, there’s no doubt that the other drivers around you on the road are feeling your confusion. Sudden braking, speeding up, and sudden lane changes or turns are a recipe for disaster. The worst thing you can do is drive around aimlessly. If you’re lost or turned around, pull over and figure out your route before getting back on the road.
    4. When you’re following behind someone, look through their windshield at the car in front of them. This will give you even more of an opportunity to brake slowly if traffic suddenly slows or stops.
    5. Be courteous of others. If someone is trying to merge, slow down to let them in instead of speeding past.
    6. Do not drive if you’re feeling tired, angry, or upset. These feelings and emotions affect your decision-making process and may make you less aware or cognizant of others on the road.

Remember: until self-driving cars are a reality, behind every wheel is another human who can make mistakes. A defensive driver does not solely focus on their actions, but anticipates the actions of others on the road. As always, we’re here if you have questions about your current policy or are thinking of making the switch to Metromile! Be safe, drive defensively, 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

Why We Need to Share the Road

Every 43 seconds, somebody in the United States is involved in a hit-and-run crash.

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That shocking statistic is pulled directly from a new AAA report that reveals 2016 (the most recent year on record) was the deadliest year for hit-and-runs to date, with 1,980 fatal accidents claiming 2,049 lives – a 60 percent increase since 2009.

The study, released last month, paints a grim picture of life on the road for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. According to researchers, pedestrians and cyclists make up nearly 65 percent of those killed by hit-and-run drivers, and 1 in 5 pedestrian deaths are due to hit-and-runs.

“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said in a press release. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”

Experts agree that the only surefire way to address this alarming reality is to work together to share the road. Whether you’re behind the wheel, biking, skating, or strolling, it’s absolutely essential to practice good habits and stay fully focused on the activity at hand. Here are some tips for staying safe:

  • Always be aware. We’ve all swerved or changed direction at the last minute when walking — if you’re a driver, remember that pedestrians can act unpredictably, so always keep your eye on anyone close to the road.
  • The same can be said for the flip side of that scenario. If you’re a cyclist or pedestrian, remember that drivers can’t read your mind, and they may not be prepared to handle any unexpected behavior. Be mindful of where you are and where you’re going.
  • Patience is a virtue, and it’s a crucial one when you’re navigating the roads. If you’re a driver and you’re trying to pass a pedestrian or cyclists, always remain focused on them as you move, and leave plenty of room so you can safely navigate around them.
  • This should go without saying, but always obey traffic signals and posted signs — jaywalking, speeding, and other illegal activities are recipes for disaster.
  • Nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone wrongly cross in front of your car when you’re behind the wheel but remember that pedestrians always have the right of way — even when they walk into the street from an area other than a crosswalk. Avoid arguing or getting angry — just yield to them and carefully move on.

It’s important to know that it’s against the law for a driver involved in a hit-and-run to flee the scene. That applies to every state in the country, and Colorado specifically, as well as some cities in California have implemented Amber Alert-style messages to notify locals via text, email, television, and radio if a driver has fled the scene of a crash.

And of course, remaining safe on the road requires a car insurance plan that has your back. Find out more about Metromile’s many services and plans at www.metromile.com or call 1.888.242.5204 to get a free quote today.

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.

Most Common Vehicle Collision Types and Tips for Avoiding Them

We get it, accidents happen, and unfortunately, they are happening too often. Car crashes occur every minute of the day, according to National Highway Traffic Administration. That’s, on average, 17,249 accidents per day – most of which are collisions. Within a split second your car could be totaled because of a minor mistake. When it comes to crashes, history continues to repeat itself. We see the same patterns contributing to collision accidents, over and over again. To make our roads safer, we’re sharing the most common collision types and tips for preventing accidents from happening.

Top Collisions and Tips for Avoiding them:

    1. Rear-end collisions. You look down to change the radio station and look up and all of the sudden you are rear-ending the car in front of you. There just wasn’t enough time to brake. The NHTA states that over 29% of the crashes that happen on the road are rear-ended collisions. Rear-ends occur mostly at intersections, highways, highway off-ramps, and heavy-traffic areas. The more deadly rear-ends accidents happen when driving through roadway-construction or work zones.

    • Tips to avoid: 89% of rear-end crashes occur because the driver was distracted. Deter your distracted driving, put down the phone, and even go so far as putting your phone on driving mode, and set your music for your car ride before taking off. Some other ways to prevent rear ends include: Keeping your focus on the road and cars around you and by not ever tailgating, be sure to leave enough space between you and the car in front of you. The rule of thumb is to drive 3-seconds behind another vehicle at ideal driving conditions. If the road is curvy, icy, wet, or there is low visibility give yourself more time and increase it to 6-seconds.

    2. Parked-car collisions. You are jamming out to your favorite tunes and go to back out of your parking spot and a car is whizzing by, they don’t don’t stop and uh oh, you collide with one another. We’ve been there and have the bumper dents to prove it. These crashes usually occur when a car is leaving their parking spot or multiple cars are moving about in parking lot.

    • Tips to avoid: When backing-up don’t just use your rearview mirror or back-up camera to check to see if there are cars approaching. Do it the old-fashion way and turn around and check your back windows to see if any cars are coming your way. If you park further out and away from the traffic areas, then it could help prevent any accidents since your car would not be surrounded by the congestion.

    3. Hydroplaning collisions. After a rainstorm, you head out to run errands and when driving through an intersection your vehicle goes through a large puddle and you can no longer control it, because of this you hit a pole. This happens to many other drivers; wet roads cause more than 10% of traffic fatalities each year. When you hydroplane you have no control over the vehicle’s direction since the tires cannot make contact with the road which most likely will result in a crash.

    • Tips to avoid: Make sure your tire tread isn’t too worn down, having good tread will allow for your tires to make better contact with wet roads. Drive slower when going through large puddles on the road and definitely save your cruise control feature for another day. If your vehicle does end up hydroplaning, stop accelerating, and don’t stomp your food on the brakes. Instead, apply a steady pressure and allow the car to coast into a lower speed.

    4. Wildlife collisions. Did you know that instances of collisions with large animals nearly doubles during the fall season? In the U.S. an estimated 1.23 million deer-related accidents occur per year. Take those animal crossing signs seriously, you never know when you might be seeing a deer in headlights.

    • Tips to avoid: If you drive through forest areas often, consider getting a deer whistle. The noise wards off animals and is designed specifically to attach to a car’s bumper. Other tips for avoiding animal collisions include using your high beam and keeping to the speed limit.

    5. Side-impact collisions. Your making a left turn and another vehicle runs a light and hits you on the side of your car. In other words, you just got t-boned, ouch! Side-impact collisions involve any vehicle that has the right away but the other driver fails to stop. This type of accident causes 27% of passenger deaths according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    • Tips to avoid: Follow the rules of the road, pay attention to stop signs, red lights, and who has the right away. Don’t try to make the light before it turns red, instead drive the speed limit and slow down on yellow. Invest in a vehicle that has side airbags to protect your precious cargo inside.

    6. Front-impact collisions. The roads are a bit slippery and you end up driving directly into a tree. The front end of your car looks like a crumpled piece of paper now. Front-impacts are 54% of all the auto accidents that occur and it is where the front of your vehicle hits another vehicle or another object.

    • Tips to avoid: Adjust your driving to the weather; if it is raining or snowing, slow down and be more cautious. Doing so will help to give you more time to react in case your car loses control. Keep your eyes up and on the road and avoid texting and driving.

Even though these are the most common collisions happening it doesn’t mean they have to happen to you, stay safe out there. If you do happen to get into an accident, rest assured Metromile will have your back. We take great pride in providing a seamless claims experience that way you can get back on the road faster. To get a quote or learn more about how Metromile is changing the auto insurance industry go to www.metromile.com.

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.

7 Steps You Can Take to Become a Safer Driver

No one likes to admit they could use some improvement behind the wheel. But the fact is, accidents happen and they happen a lot (over 7 million times in the United States alone in 2016). While you can’t control many of the risks on the road, you can set yourself up to be as safe as possible.
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7 Steps You Can Take to Become a Safer Driver

    1. Forget about your phone. This is one of the most important (and simplest) things you can do to improve the safety of you, your passengers, and others on the road. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving — even when it’s a hands-free phone — is the equivalent of driving drunk. Scary, right? That means if you really want to reduce your risk, it’s best to refrain from talking.

    And texting is definitely a dealbreaker. Sending a text may seem simple, but on average, it causes you to lose your focus on the road for 4.6 seconds. And if that doesn’t sound so bad, consider the fact that you can drive the length of a full football field in that amount of time. Even if you’re fully stopped, just keep your phone out of reach and pay attention to everything going on around you.

    2. Keep your car in good shape. No, repairs aren’t cheap, but investing in the appropriate maintenance will ensure your vehicle is up to snuff and safe. Make sure you get routine check-ups for your tires, brakes, fluid levels, lights, wipers, and anything else indicated in your owner’s manual.

    3. Buckling up is always a must. Your best defense in a crash is your seatbelt — no buts about it. No matter how far you’re driving or whether your passengers are riding in the front or back, every single person in the car should be wearing a seatbelt at all times.

    4. Properly position your hands. Remember when your driver’s ed teacher insisted you keep your hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions? Believe it or not, that 10 and 2 theory has been debunked. Guidelines have recently changed to instruct drivers to keep hands lower on the wheel, either at 9 and 3 or 8 and 4. The modified grip gives you more stability and control and it’s the most ergonomic option.

    5. Only drive when you’re well rested. Getting behind the wheel when you’re seriously exhausted is seriously dangerous. Sleep deprivation can have the same effect on your body as drinking alcohol, and as you can imagine, make it incredibly difficult to pay attention and make fast decisions. And according to a 2010 study, one out of every six fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver. If you’re tired, find an alternative plan — it’s not worth the risk.

    6. Keep a safe distance. It’s never a good idea to get too close to the other cars around you on the road. Maintain a safety cushion around your vehicle so you can see everything going on around you and you have room to act quickly if necessary.

    7. Minimize all distractions. Now you know that looking at or talking on your phone shouldn’t be an option while driving. But ideally, eating, drinking, and searching for that perfect playlist shouldn’t be on your list of behind the wheel activities either. Whenever you’re in the driver’s seat, focus all your attention on the task at the hand.

Of course, accidents can happen despite your best efforts to stay safe. That’s why it’s so important to stick with an insurance company that has your back. Make the smart choice and visit Metromile today for a personalized quote.

The Best Wet Weather Driving Safety Tips for Spring

Seems like March came in like a lion but didn’t come close to going out like a lamb. Wet weather driving conditions can be treacherous this time of year. From poor visibility to water-filled potholes, one wrong turn can leave even the most experienced driver in complete panic mode. Each year, wet pavement is a contributing factor to over 1.2 million car crashes. That’s insanity!

The-Best-Wet-Weather-Driving-Safety-Tips-for-Spring

Here at Metromile, we want you to be safe every time you get behind the wheel. Driving on wet pavement can be tricky, but with these tips you’ll be on your way to safer travels this Spring!

Before You Leave Your Driveway

Driving safety starts before you put the car in Drive. Do I sound like your Mom? Good. Your goal this Spring should be to A) See and B) Be seen. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition (sometimes old, dull wipers can leave film or streaks on the glass), and all of your external lights (headlights, tail lights, blinkers, etc.) are working properly. Always turn your headlights on while driving in the rain – it’s even a law in some states. Check that you still have a good amount of tread left on your tires by implementing the Lincoln Test. Use a tire pressure gauge to test the pressure of your tires, and inflate if necessary.

On the Road

  • Skip cruise control. On a dry day, cruise control is a perfectly safe and lovely thing to use. On wet and rainy days, the chances of losing control of the vehicle are greater. In order to avoid losing traction, the driver may need to reduce speed by lifting off the gas pedal. This cannot be accomplished when using cruise control, which may cause the vehicle to go into a skid. Skip the cruise control when it’s raining to maintain better control of the car.
  • Leave plenty of room. When visibility is low, it is especially difficult to see how the drivers in front of you are behaving. By leaving plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you, you’re reducing your chances of crashing into them if you suddenly lose traction.
  • Respond to hydroplaning. If your tires are worn and the tread depth is below 2 millimeters, you may experience hydroplaning, especially at higher speeds or in deep water. With even as little as 1.5 inches of water on the road, your tires have to displace 1 gallon of water per second in order to maintain contact with the pavement. If you feel you have suddenly lost traction and the vehicle has started to hydroplane, do not immediately panic and slam on the brakes. Doing this will disrupt the balance of the car and make things much worse. Instead, continue to steer in the direction you need to the vehicle to go. Gently let your foot off the accelerator to slow the car down naturally, without use of the brakes. If you do need to brake, do so lightly in a tapping or pumping motion (only do this if your car does not have anti-lock brakes).

To be honest: the biggest factor when driving in wet-weather is you and your judgment. If visibility drops and the roads suddenly become flooded, only you will know if it is time to pull off and wait it out. Sure, it may take you a bit longer to reach your destination, but in the end, the few minutes spent to be safe will always be worth it. Grab a quick free quote with Metromile and be safe out there this rainy season!

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

7 Easy Ways to Deter Distracted Driving

In the age of the smartphones and fast food, it seems like everything is a potential distraction. Even the most cautious drivers can get sidetracked by a notification chirp or an errant bonus fry (Jim Gaffigan fans?). With restaurants literally having a drive-thru window, how are we supposed to be expected to pay attention to the road 100% of the time?

7-Easy-Ways-to-Deter-Distracted-Driving

Fortunately, there are a few best practices for preventing distracted driving. If you promise that you’re not reading this on your phone when you’re behind the wheel, we’ll clue you in on our best tips for deterring distracted driving – they’re easy, we promise!

    1. Make adjustments before putting the car in Drive. This includes the seat position, rearview mirror, side mirrors, seat belt, and steering wheel adjustments. This also includes deciding on your route and inputting it into your phone or GPS before ever putting your foot on the gas.

    2. Finish getting dressed and putting on your makeup before leaving the house. Besides just being courteous to others who may see you in your half-dressed state, you’ll also reduce your chances of getting into an accident while applying that final swipe of lipstick.

    3. Secure children and pets before leaving. By making sure your passengers are securely fastened in, you limit the amount of times you might need to reach into the backseat – and potentially causing a car accident.

    4. Avoid eating and driving. We know this one is tough. If you must eat and drive, be sure to pick something that will be easy to hold and eat with one hand – and nothing that will cause a mess, because you might be tempted to clean it up while driving.

    5. Only use your cell phone in an emergency. There’s a reason that many states have outlawed texting/talking and driving – it’s extremely distracting. In addition to being ticketed and fined, you may risk your life or others’ lives by engaging your phone while driving (this includes checking email, social media, etc.). Only use your cell if it’s an emergency, and even then it’s best to pull off to the side of the road.

    6. If you’re drowsy, pull over. Did you know that drowsiness increases the chances of getting into a crash by nearly 4 times? A government study showed that 37 percent of U.S. drivers have nodded off or actually fallen asleep at least once during their driving careers. If you feel tired, get off the road; don’t try to floor it to get home faster.

    7. Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle. Most states’ driver licensing laws prohibit teens from having teenage passengers in the car with them during their early months of driving solo – and for good reason. Driving with friends (whether you’re a new or experienced driver) can create a distracting driving environment because you’ll be focused on your friends rather than the road.

See, didn’t we say that they were easy? Follow these simple guidelines for deterring distracted driving and you’ll be a safer driver, both for yourself and others on the road. As always, be sure to get a quick free quote from Metromile to see how much you could be saving by making the switch! Be safe and see you out there!

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