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Winter Driving Safety Tips To Get You Through the Cold

As the temperatures drop in the winter season, driving becomes more of an inconvenience. You might be dealing with rain, ice, snow, and frigid temps, all of which can have an impact on driving conditions. Sometimes winter driving is more than just an inconvenience and can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as of 2019, there were 33,000 injury crashes and 440 fatal car crashes that occurred in winter driving conditions. But by taking a few preventive measures and precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk and feel safer behind the wheel. Find out the top 15 winter driving tips to help you stay safe.

15 Winter Driving Tips to Stay Safe in the Cold | Metromile

Winter driving preparation tips 

When the air is crisp and cold, it can change how your vehicle operates and certain conditions. As part of your winter driving car maintenance, check up on the following: 

1. Inspect your car tires 

There are two main things you want to do with your car tires to prepare for winter driving conditions. 

  1. Check tire pressure
  2. Review the type of tire you have and consider upgrading to snow tires

Your tire pressure is something you should ideally check every month, but lower temps (as well as extreme heat) can affect your tire pressure. Look at your owner’s manual to see the suggested pressure. You don’t want your tires to be underinflated or overinflated. Instead, you want the Goldilocks amount, something that is just right. 

Additionally, if you have the wrong tire type you may be more susceptible to getting stuck in the snow. Getting snow tires and snow chains can help. Also, be aware of uneven tire patterns, which can be a warning sign for other car issues. 

2. Check your car battery 

You know how you might have less energy in the winter and feel like hibernating? Your car battery is kind of similar. In winter driving conditions, your car battery requires more power to start. 

Due to the additional effort, you want to make sure your car battery is in tip-top shape. Consider taking your car to a mechanic to check your car battery and make sure all the parts are running as they should. 

3. Know your brakes

For winter driving safety, it’s key to be aware of the type of brakes you have. If you have anti-lock brakes, you can apply steady pressure, but if you have non-anti-lock brakes, you’ll need to pump them gently, so you avoid locking them and losing control. If you hear squeaky brakes, it’s time to get a check-up ASAP. 

4. Review type and condition of floor mats 

The wintertime is a great time to review a part of your car you probably don’t think much about…your floor mats. These may just seem like an accessory but can impact driving conditions when your shoes are exposed to rainy or snowy weather. 

For example, when you get into your car, you might bring some of the snow or rain with you, and mats could be slippery. For more traction, consider rubber mats. Be sure to make sure your floor mats are securely fastened and placed correctly to help you avoid any issues when accelerating or braking. 

5. Make sure your lights are working properly 

Your lights communicate important information to other drivers. Your turn signal tells other drivers you’re about to turn, your hazard lights are required when you pull over, and having your headlights work is a key part of seeing the road ahead of you (and for other drivers to see you!). 

Double-check these lights and make sure they’re working properly before doing any winter driving.

6. Check windshield wipers and defroster 

Your windshield wipers are a much-needed sidekick during the winter months. They can help in the rain and snow to make sure you can still see ahead of you. 

So first, check that the blades move effortlessly from side to side and are in good condition. Next, check your fluid levels and opt for specific winter fluid to help break down ice and snow. Lastly, see if your defroster is working as it should. If not, you might need to get it checked out by a professional. 

7. Look at your cooling system 

Another car maintenance task you might forget about or put off is looking at your cooling system. 

During the winter months, you can test the cooling system and replace any coolant as needed. recommends changing your coolant about every 30,000 miles, however, that may vary depending on your vehicle. 

Winter driving tips before hitting the road

Before hitting the road in winter driving conditions, you want to be ready for anything and be prepared. Below are winter driving tips that are useful before you get behind the wheel. 

8. Prepare your winter driving safety survival kit 

Having a few important items and keeping your car in good shape can help you if you’re in a bind. Here’s what to put in your winter driving safety survival kit:

  • A flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Blankets
  • Flares
  • Ice scraper 
  • Snow shovel
  • Sand or salt (if you get stuck in snow) 

The above are requirements but some bonus items might also include:

  • Dry pair of warm socks
  • A jacket
  • Gallon of water
  • Snacks
  • Portable cell phone charger 

9. Check the weather and traffic alerts

Though you don’t have control over everything, especially when it comes to weather, there are two things you can do to assess winter driving conditions:

  1. Check the weather. Many phones have this as an app or you can check
  2. Look at traffic alerts and map out your route on Google Maps to see about potential closures, traffic, etc. 

Knowing these things ahead of time can help you avoid being stuck in an unexpected snowstorm you didn’t know was coming or help you find a new route if there are road closures. 

10. Fill up your gas tank 

You’d hate to deal with dangerous winter driving conditions and manage just fine only to find out you ran out of gas somewhere while stuck in the cold. So, here’s your warning! Fill up the gas tank to keep your car running and happy! 

Know what to do in unexpected situations 

Winter driving safety is of utmost importance. When you add variables like rain, cold temperatures, ice, and snow, you can find yourself in unexpected situations. The best thing to do is to know how to react ahead of time. 

11. Know how to get unstuck

One thing that could happen? You could get stuck in snow. If you do get stuck in the snow, avoid spinning your wheels as this will just dig you deeper into the slush. 

Figure out the simplest way to dig yourself out of the hole and clear the snow in front of and behind all four tires before spreading sand or kitty litter to provide instant traction (this is why these materials are good to have on hand in your winter survival kit in your car). 

As you maneuver the vehicle out, keep your front tires straight so you’ll encounter less resistance. Learn about eight things you can do if you’re stuck in the snow. 

12. Be prepared for a skid

Skidding on an icy road can be scary, but it’s important to stay as calm as possible (deep breaths!) so you can move through the important safety steps: avoid slamming on your brakes, take your foot off the gas, and steer in the direction you want to go. Allow the car to slow down so you can regain control.

13. Adjust your speed accordingly

When weather conditions change, it’s important to stay present and in tune with your surroundings. You may need to drive slower than the speed limit to stay safe and in control. 

Remember that posted speed limits apply to dry roads, not those covered in ice or snow, so let your sense dictate your speed, not necessarily the signs.

14. Take on hills the right way 

You may be tempted to power up a hill, but using extra gas on a snowy incline can cause your wheels to spin. 

Instead, gain some inertia on a flat road before you reach the hill, and as you reach the peak, reduce your speed (but don’t stop!) so you can head downhill as slowly as possible.

15. Get roadside assistance 

Your winter driving safety is super important. If you don’t want to go it alone, the good news is you can get roadside assistance to help out if you need it. Roadside assistance is available as additional optional coverage for Metromile customers. 

The bottom line 

When you get behind the wheel to drive, there is a level of risk. Added variables like inclement weather can increase that risk. Using these 15 winter driving tips, you can do your part to stay safe while on the road. If you’re still paying a flat rate for car insurance and don’t drive that often, it’s time to rethink your auto insurance coverage. Metromile offers pay-per-mile coverage at an affordable rate, with an option to add roadside assistance. Get a quote in a matter of minutes.

Should You Buy Premium or Regular Gas?

Types of Gas for Cars: Premium or Regular | Metromile

If you’re like many drivers, you buy the regular unleaded gasoline and don’t think much about the different types of gas.

For those who are curious about whether to buy premium or regular gas, this short guide will explain the different types of gas for cars and what you should know.

What makes up gasoline?

According to the Energy Information Administration, “gasoline is a fuel made from crude oil and other petroleum liquids. Gasoline is mainly used as an engine fuel in vehicles. Petroleum refineries and blending facilities produce motor gasoline for sale at retail gasoline fueling stations.”

The gasoline you’re used to is actually unfinished gasoline combined with additional liquids such as ethanol. It’s these different blends that determine the different types of gas that are typically listed by grade at the gas pump.

Different types of gas by grade, explained

There are three different types of gas at most U.S. gas stations, typically differentiated by their octane ratings:

  • Regular gas (typically 87 octane) is one of the most common fuel types. Many car manufacturers recommend regular gas, and it’s many drivers’ go-to option. Regular gas is a budget-friendly gas option and is standard for many vehicles. 
  • Mid-grade gas (usually 88 to 90) is a specialty gas. Some vehicles are made to run on gasoline with a higher octane level. For example, some sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) require mid-grade gasoline. The higher octane level can be good for performance.
  • Premium gas (often 91 to 94) is often the highest octane gas sold. A car rarely needs premium gasoline, but some vehicles designed for high performance may require a higher octane level.

You might also see the different gas grades referred to as unleaded, super, or super-premium. 

Using the right fuel for your vehicle can boost its performance and efficiency. If your car doesn’t require a higher octane level, there’s no need to use a more expensive type of gas. It could even potentially damage your vehicle if you fill up with the wrong type of gas.

Understanding premium gas vs. regular gas

When you’re reviewing different types of gas, it’s important to note that the octane level measures the gasoline’s compression. 

The main difference between premium gas and regular gas is the octane rating. This affects the engine’s performance and compression. 

Aside from that major difference, of course, there’s the difference in price points as well. 

Regular unleaded gas is typically the cheapest gas to purchase, as it is the most common.

Premium gas is typically the most expensive gas to buy. Some luxury car manufacturers and manufacturers of sports cars or foreign cars recommend higher-octane, premium gas to achieve the best engine efficiency. 

Double-check whether your car manufacturer requires premium or recommends premium gas. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you which gas you should use to get the expected vehicle performance.

Should I buy mid-grade gas?

Few car manufacturers suggest mid-grade gas. It has slightly more additives than regular gas, but generally, the results won’t be noticeably better.

If your vehicle doesn’t require mid-grade gas, you’ll be spending extra money without getting a meaningful improvement.

What kind of gas should I get for my vehicle?

When it comes to types of gas for cars, your car owner’s manual will list the recommended gas for your exact vehicle. 

Don’t splurge or use more premium gas because it won’t necessarily allow your vehicle to run faster or get better gas mileage if it only needs regular gas.

Can I use diesel for my car?

Diesel fuel has a much lower octane rating of 25 to 30. If your car manufacturer doesn’t recommend diesel, you shouldn’t fill up your car with it, even if it costs less than regular gas.

Diesel can cause damage to your vehicle’s engine because of the lower compression and octane level. You don’t want to get stuck with costly and unneeded car repairs.

Is the type of gas you use important to your car’s health?

You want to keep your car in good shape, so you may think splurging on a higher octane rating is better. Not exactly. 

If your car manual calls for a premium or mid-grade gas, but you pump regular gas instead, the lower octane level could reduce engine power, damage your car health, and lower fuel economy.

In contrast, filling your car up with premium gas when your car owner’s manual calls for regular gas may not damage your engine, but it probably won’t do much besides costing more money.

How does regular car maintenance keep your vehicle in good health?

Keeping up with regular maintenance like oil changes, having the proper tires, and being aware of any issues can help keep your car in good health. An easy way to keep your car running in tip-top shape for longer is to drive less.

Low-mileage drivers put less wear and tear on their cars. Driving less frequently generally means you’ll need to maintain your car less frequently, too.

Switching to pay-how-you-drive auto insurance could be a good idea if you don’t drive much. Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance policies focus on the miles you drive, so people who don’t fill up often could also pay less for car insurance.

The table below shows the average annual car insurance savings enjoyed by new Metromile customers:

Pay per mile savings explanation
*Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

If it’s an option, taking public transportation could also help you save money at the gas station.

The bottom line

There are many types of gas out there. If you want to save money on gas and keep your car healthy, stick to what your car manufacturer suggests. It’ll save you money and hassle. 

If you don’t drive much and are rarely at the gas station, you can get a free quote from Metromile and try pay-per-mile auto insurance (you’ll need to keep your current policy to remain covered) with the free Ride Along™ trial before making the switch.

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

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?

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.
  1. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 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.

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.


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.

Vehicle Breakdown Checklist: What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down

It’s a situation no one wants to deal with: a car breakdown. It can be inconvenient at best, scary at worst, and no matter what kind of malfunction you experience, you can bet the necessary fix will likely be pricey.


No matter where you are when your car breaks down, here are 5 steps to follow to stay safe and get yourself back on the road safely.

5 Steps to Take When your Car Breaks Down:

    1.Be prepared before a breakdown. The best way to keep a bad situation from becoming worse is to be prepared. Always keep these essentials in your car in case of emergencies:

    • A cell phone charger
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Jumper cables
    • Flares or reflectors
    • An ice scraper, snow shovel, and sand if you live in snowy conditions
    • An umbrella
    • A toolkit
    • A first aid kit
    • Coolant

    2.Know how to get off the road safely. Cars typically don’t just stop entirely when there’s a breakdown, so you’ll likely have some time as your car slows down to get over to the side of the road. Avoid braking suddenly and take your foot off the gas smoothly and gently as you steer your vehicle over to the side of the road.

    3.Call for help. This is when roadside assistance is your best friend. If you’re a Metromile customer, you have the option to add on this feature to your policy so you can get a jump, tow, or locksmith 24/7. If you’re in serious trouble, call 9-1-1.

    4.Signal to other drivers. Here’s where the flares in your trunk come in handy. As long as it’s safe to get out of your car and walk to the back, place both flares behind your vehicle about 50 feet away or more if possible. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood so motorists know to steer clear.

    5.Use your best judgment. Strangers may stop to offer help while you wait for roadside assistance. It’s best to follow your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, stay in your car (as long as it’s safe), and only roll down the windows enough to talk and let them know help is on the way.

Breakdowns are never fun but if you follow these steps it will be just a car breakdown rather than a total mental breakdown. Interested in Metromile pay-per-mile insurance and Roadside assistance? Get a free quote now.

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.

Snow Tires vs. Chains: Everything You Need to Know

Snow tires and snow chains can help keep you safe when driving in the winter. Here’s what you should know.

The debate has been going for years, with both having their benefits and disadvantages. Let’s weigh in on the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed decision this winter!

Winter driving can be dangerous, so it’s time to get serious about your tire choices and how they will affect your ability to travel. 

Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive: it doesn’t matter how powerful your car is – if the tires have zero traction, then you’ll be on the road to going nowhere fast. If you live somewhere that gets dangerously slick during the winter, having reliable traction is a must. 

The real question then becomes: snow tires or chains – which form of traction is better?

Should you get non-studded snow tires for your car?

There’s no doubt about it – snow tires provide excellent traction on snowy and icy road conditions. Non-studded snow tires perform exceptionally well on ice and packed snow. 

In particular, non-studded snow tires also perform well on dry roads, making them a great multi-purpose option. Additionally, they won’t cause any damage to dry roadways, which is a feature unique to non-studded snow tires.

But understand that non-studded snow tires can be pricey. 

Not only will you have to fork out cash for the tires themselves (and they’re not cheap), but you will also need to front the cost of having them professionally installed and removed at the start and end of the season. 

Non-studded snow tires do not provide great traction in deep snow and may wear out faster when driven on dry pavement.

Should you get studded snow tires for your car?

Studded snow tires are also an excellent form of traction in the wintertime. The metal studs on the tire grip the snow and ice even better than non-studded snow tires. 

Just like non-studded snow tires, they are a very reliable option for navigating treacherous roadways; in addition to providing better traction and handling, the studs offer an additional point of contact on slick surfaces like ice and compacted snow.

Keep in mind that studded snow tires have proven to be quite damaging to dry pavement and should only be used when driving in slippery conditions. These tires may even be illegal in some states, or they might only be permissible during certain months of the year, depending on your region. 

Studded snow tires can also be expensive, and like non-studded snow tires, you will need to pay to have them professionally installed and removed.

Should you get snow chains for your car?

First, snow chains are substantially less expensive than snow tires – to some folks, that fact alone may tip the scales in favor of chains.

Snow chains also provide the greatest amount of traction on ice, packed snow, and deep snow. Snow tires don’t do as well as snow chains in deep snow.

Another great feature of chains: you can easily install and remove them yourself! This makes them a fantastic option if you don’t typically need winter weather traction and are only traveling through inclement conditions temporarily.

Don’t forget: If you have chains on your tires, you should not (and in some places, cannot) drive on dry pavement. Driving on dry pavement with chains will not only damage the roadway but will be a bone-rattling experience for all inside the vehicle. Some people equate driving with chains on dry pavement to the feeling of driving with square-shaped tires – yikes! 

While in use, you should plan to drive at a very low speed and should only use them when necessary to avoid potential damage to your vehicle.

What happens if you don’t have snow tires or chains during the winter? Can it damage your car?

You might have heard that chains can snap off and damage your car. While that can happen on rare occasions, it shouldn’t be your only concern. 

The fact is that snow tires and chains are intended to give you more traction on slippery roads. So without them, if the road conditions are bad enough, you might be more likely to get into an accident, which could do even more damage to your car.

How can auto insurance help during the winter?

If you have comprehensive coverage, damage to your car that’s caused by winter driving might be covered by your insurance policy — even if you aren’t involved in a collision.

Of course, that’s not the only reason to get car insurance. 

It’s essential to have auto insurance just in case you get into an accident. This is especially true in the winter when bad road conditions caused by snow and ice can increase your risk of crashing.

We certainly hope you stay safe out there. If something goes wrong, having car insurance can cover you for damages to your car, the other driver’s car, and any injuries.

The bottom line

If you don’t drive as much in the winter because of bad road conditions, or you don’t like waiting 15 minutes for your car to heat up and the frost to clear off your windshield, you might be able to save money with a pay-per-mile insurance policy.

Get a free quote from Metromile today to see how much you could save with pay-as-you-go auto insurance

You can try Ride Along™, a free app feature that helps you get a more accurate rate before buying auto insurance. 

First, download the Metromile app, and Metromile will consider how you drive to show you an accurate rate. You’ll keep your current coverage and drive as you typically would for about two weeks. We want you to have confidence you’ll save money before you switch to Metromile.

6 Scenic Winter Road Trips

Winter blues got you down? Once the holidays settle and the world is shrouded in snow, it can be hard to muster up the desire to do anything but snuggle inside with a mug of cocoa and watch reruns of The Office.

But, wait. Have you thought about taking a road trip? Yes, we realize Kevin and his vat of chili can seem more enticing than jumping in the car when it’s freezing outside. However, winter might just be the best time to hit the open road, because 1) less tourists means less traffic, and 2) it just might end up being your most majestic road trip yet! We are lucky to live in a beautiful country with seemingly endless scenic drives – many of which are made all-the-more breathtaking by long winter shadows on thick blankets of snow and ice. Honestly, what more could you ask for?


Now that you’ve gotten your car scraped off, heated seats warmed up, and snow tires at the ready, drive on with confidence into these 6 unique winter wonderlands. We picked our favorite winter road trip destinations so all you have to do is go!

The 6 Best Winter Road Trip Destinations

Lake Tahoe, Nevada: The ultimate winter destination for snow bunnies, the drive around Lake Tahoe during winter is simply a sight to behold. Start your journey at Incline Village and make your way all the way around the lake’s 27 mile circumference. Be sure to stop off at Sand Harbor to dip a toe into the icy waters (fun fact: the lake never gets cold enough to freeze, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s warm enough for anything except a Polar Bear plunge). Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the snow-dusted Sierra Nevada mountains reflected in the glassy surface of Lake Tahoe’s crystal clear water.

Zion National Park, Utah: Zion was Utah’s first national park, and when you experience its endless beauty, you’ll understand why this place is named “Promised Land.” Shorter days mean longer shadows, so be sure to grab your camera for some epic winter desert photography; the white snow looks particularly striking against Zion’s giant stratified rock sculptures.

White Mountains, New Hampshire: Fancy a twisty-turny scenic mountain drive? Get lost in an idyllic New England winter landscape with a drive in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Make a pit stop in Jackson, NH, where the coffee is hot and the powder plentiful before jumping back on the road and continuing your New England winter journey.

Glacier National Park, Montana: This 50-mile drive drops scenic view after scenic view and doesn’t care who knows it. Going-to-the-Sun road cuts Glacier National Park in half, and snow-covered forests, icy lakes, and frosted mountaintops surround both sides of the road. You may want to go extra slow for this drive so you don’t miss a single thing (including wildlife)!

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Making the 52-mile drive along Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone during winter may be one of the most awe-inspiring road trips ever. If you look carefully, you may be able to spot packs of wolves roaming the desolate landscape. Be sure to have your brakes at the ready if a bachelor bison (an older male bison that has left the herd) wanders into your path.

Badlands, South Dakota: Though the temperature may hover “below the donut” (aka subzero), it will all be worth it to see a light dusting of snow on the impressive rock formations of the South Dakota Badlands. Begin your journey on South Dakota Highway 240 in Wall, SD and be sure to make frequent stops throughout the day at the many scenic lookouts. During this time of year, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone else poking around except park rangers and some bighorn sheep.

If the winter weather forces you to change direction or turn back, always be sure to have a plan B in place. Who knows, the road trip could end up being even more spectacular! Also, it never hurts to have an emergency kit in the car, including: a flashlight with fresh batteries, a blanket, a lighter, snacks, bottled water, gloves, boots, an ice scraper, jumper cables, and a first aid kit.

Us Metromilers love and encourage road trips, which is why we don’t charge for miles above 250 (or 150 in some states!). So the only question left is: where should we go first?

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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.

10 Things You Need For a Good Road Trip

Road trips can go one of two ways: totally awesome or a total disaster. What started as a fun, spontaneous idea can suddenly take a nosedive if you go into it unprepared. From getting stranded with no data or cell service, to emergency bathroom stops, your road trip can quickly turn from freaking awesome to “I’m freaking out!”.

10 Things You Need For a Good Road Trip

Yes, there was a reason that your parents packed the minivan to the gills (I admit it… you were right about everything, Mom!). It seems the more well-planned road trips tend to go off without a hitch. Us Metromilers love road trips and encourage our customers to take them, which is why we cap your mileage at 250 miles/day (150 miles/day in New Jersey). From having the right snacks, to the right tunes, to arguably the most important thing – planned restroom stops – here are our 10 things you need to make your next road trip your most epic one yet.

1. Hands-free phone holder:

    1. Your phone will most likely be your GPS and source of music, so be sure to invest in a hands-free phone holder to make it safer and easier to navigate. It doesn’t need to be fancy – I bought one in the Target dollar section a couple years ago and it was exactly what I needed and so inexpensive. Side note: the Target dollar section rules.

2. Downloaded Google maps: Did you know that you can download any map in the world in the Google Maps app? This tip is super important because there will definitely be lapses in cell service and data coverage, and you do not want to be stranded without a map. This past summer, I visited New Zealand and downloaded a map of the entire north island on my phone before arriving (just in case). It ended up coming in handy when we lost data coverage on the remote back roads of the island. Thanks to the pre-downloaded map, we were still able to navigate our way back to town. Also, Google Maps will still give you turn-by-turn directions with the downloaded maps!

3. Snacks and drinks: No explanation needed. Make sure everyone in the car gets their favorite kind, and be sure to also have some more substantial snacks (like Kind Bars or Clif Bars) on hand in case anyone gets hangry. Don’t forget the bottled water, too!

4. Fast Track toll pass: If you don’t already have one of these in your car, you should definitely get one stat. In addition to offering you discounts on tolls, it expedites the toll-paying process and eliminates the need to fumble for loose change, so you can be on your way faster!

5. First Aid Kit: You’ll most likely never have to use these two but they’re important to bring anyway as a precaution. Put together a simple first aid kit consisting of bandages, gauze, bottled water, an instant ice pack, a flashlight with fresh batteries, Swiss Army knife, Ibuprofen, Dramamine, a lighter, and rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, and store it in your trunk.

6. Car phone charger: This is a necessity and something that you should keep in your car at all times. There is nothing worse than needing to call for help and having a dead phone battery. Without this you will be walking, my friend!

7. Neck pillow: Long hours in the car means cramped bodies and necks. Make your journey a little more pleasant by bringing a neck pillow so you can snooze in the back when it’s not your turn to drive.

8. Good tunes: This one is up for debate, because it’s guaranteed that everyone in the car will have differing opinions on what constitutes “good” tunes. My road trip rules are that the driver gets to pick the tunes. And when all else fails: headphones.

9. Toilet paper: Just put a roll in the car. It takes up zero space… and you never know when someone might need it. Ahem.

10. Small bills and coins: It’s always good to have a bit of cash (small bills) and some coins on hand. From parking meters to issues at the toll booth, you never know when you’re going to need some to help you out in a pinch.

As one final tip: my Dad always told me, “Dress like you’re going to have to walk.” Make sure you wear comfy, weather-appropriate clothing, and reliable footwear.

That’s it! Go forth and conquer your future road trips with these tips. Metromile will be there with you every mile of the way, helping you to optimize your trip by spending less on gas, tracking your mileage, and finding your car (who remembers that Seinfeld episode?). Be sure to get a quote with Metromile today, and let’s get that next road trip on the books!

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.

5 Tips For Navigating Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving brings to mind family, friends, turkey, and potatoes. But, it can also bring Thanksgiving traffic to mind. Millions of people travel for the holidays and a majority of them travel by car. In fact, last year 49 million Americans contributed to road congestion for the Thanksgiving holiday. With all those people on the road, we wanted to share our top tips for stress-free holiday navigating.

Girl Holding Sign 'Give Thanks.' Thanksgiving Traffic Tips

    1. Avoid the busiest travel days: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often times easier said than done. The busiest travel days are the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

    2. The early driver catches the worm: Leave early. Taking data from past holidays, Google has found that leaving by 6 a.m. on Sunday is your best bet. From there on out traffic will only get worse. Headed home? – Leave early; Friday is the best time to head home Thanksgiving traffic free.

    3. When in doubt, Podcast it out: Be prepared for traffic anyways and have a playlist, audiobook or Podcast ready to entertain you while you wait it out. Having something to listen to will keep you calm so you show up to Thanksgiving refreshed not stressed.

    4. Be courteous: Everyone is pretty much on the road for the same reason, to get somewhere to eat and celebrate with loved ones. We could all use a little extra kindness here and there and making the extra effort to be polite to others on the road can make a huge difference.

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

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

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.


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.