Metromile Car Insurance and WIN $100 gift card and goody bag

Here in New Jersey, we have one of the highest auto insurance rates in the country.  The main reason, population density and the proximity to New York City.  Oh, and the traffic.  It is everywhere, to the point where if it is between 3:00 and 7:00 pm, you have to tack on an extra half hour no matter where you are going (at least).  It also effects commuters to the point where public transportation is often the only way to get in and out of a particular city when trying to get there during work hours. I’m looking at you, Jersey City (and Hoboken, and New York….)  For this reason, my husband uses mass transportation every day.  In order to get to the train station, there is still a short car ride.  This car of course has to be insured, and is insured at the same rate as my car, which we use to take road trips, get to and from school, etc.  This doesn’t really make sense when you think about it.  But what is a responsible adult to do?  Until now, buy expensive insurance where we in essence help subsidize someone else car based commute every day.  Well, a new company called Metromile changes that.

Metromile is the only pay-per-mile auto insurance available in New Jersey it allows drivers to pay for the miles they actually drive without judgement on driving style or behavior.  Drivers pay a base rate per month then a few cents per mile based on actual miles driven.  The way this works is with a little device called, The Pulse, which plus into the OBII port in all/most cars and will track mileage, give you important car data including the health of the vehicle and its location.  That’s right- it can even be used to help find the car if has been stolen.  But the fun part is the app.  The app connects to The Plug and gives you some new insight into your vehicle, including trips & trends, miles, MPG, time, speed, fuel level, cost estimates, car location, even street sweeping alerts (this is only available in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Chicago) and more.

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This insurance works best for drivers who log under 10,000 miles a year on their vehicle and has been able to save some almost $500 a year.  So it is well worth getting a quote and finding out how much you could save as well.

One of you can win a Metromile gift bag (above) as well as a $100 gift card to use for gas.  Please feel free to enter using the RC form below.  Ends 3/25/16.  Good luck!
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Road Trip With the 2016 Mazda 6

Over the course of one of our recent excursions, we were given the opportunity to try out the new 2016 Mazda 6.  With tons of bells and whistles as well as a super efficient engine, the 2.5L SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine takes efficiency to a whole new performance level, with better EPA-estimated highway MPG than the competition.

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This car is a fun to drive, and the ride is smooth.  From the side front and rear radar, all your sides are covered and as long as you are careful, good driving is easy to do in such a safe environment.  The Mazda 6 also has the added benefit of a stellar safety system.

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This includes standard safety featureslike advanced front air bags, front side-impact air bags, side-impact air curtains*, Dynamic Stability Control* with Traction Control System, 4-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist, Available Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert*, Smart City Brake Support*, Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning*, Lane Departure Warning System*, High Beam Control, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Close Proximity Warning*.

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Overall this car was a blast to drive.  The handling felt like I was driving a larger car then I was, which kept me further from the vehicles around me (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  It was still something to get used to.

Especially since this is the first time I have had the pleasure of using the HUD to display speed and directions.  This is a small projected image on a see-though screen near the bottom of the windshield. This acts as a quick information window which can be glanced at while driving without distracting the driver.  (My husband loved it, he thought it was one of the coolest things about the car and he talked way too much about it- for me, it was a little unusual.)

It had a ton of trunk space, which really matters for any family. Perfect for travel, but also for those every day activities like shopping or heading to the grocery store. This model also had a GPS unit that was easy to use, and if you are like me, a necessity for getting from point A to point B once you are out of your comfort zone.  The front and back seats had lots of leg room- and head room.  My husband is nearly 6’4, and he was able to fit comfortably into the car without his head hitting the top. This is unusual.  For bigger people, it’s good to know.  My son had room in the back, even when I had my seat back.  We were all comfortable- something I can’t usually say in most cars.

Be sure to keep an eye out and check out the Mazda 6 at a local Mazda dealer near you.

#ExploreMore with the 2016 Ford Explorer

Just recently, I had the opportunity to drive from Montana to Wyoming in the new 2016 Ford Explorer. It was a beautiful car, with plenty of room and a smooth ride.  We had a pleasant trip through some very scenic states and areas, and had so much fun getting to take this auto on quite the test drive.

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Taking a little break to enjoy the scenery.

The new Ford Explorer has lots of updates and improvements, but the most noticeable thing about the new Explorer is its ease to drive and fun to get behind the wheel.  From an ecologically minded engine, to many places to plug in your devices and music players, to all the “extras”, there is so much that will make you fall in love with the Ford Explorer.

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The road trip begins! We all get into an Explorer and go exploring. Fairly apt, don’t you think?

The vehicle itself sports new lift gate, new tail lamps, new fascia and new exhaust tips,Redesigned hood, headlamps, grille, fender and fog lamps,Five all-new wheel designs and three new colors, Unique interior and exterior and premium appointments on the new Platinum series,Nirvana Leather with perforated and quilted seats on Platinum model.

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Plenty of room for 3 people’s bags and computers with lots of spcace to spare.

The engine is a 280 hp beats which delivers 310 lbs of torque using its twin turbochargers which give the engine faster pickup and enhances acceleration.

The hands free parking is a thing of wonder.  It helps keep the guess work out of weather you are in the spot or not. The Explorer uses its available ultrasonic systems to help you in nearly all parking situations – park out assist, perpendicular parking, and Forward and Side Sensing Systems.  While the car is large, you wont’ feel like you are parking a boat.  It is also really nice to be able to see behind you easily via screen while you are backing up.

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The navigation system was super easy to use, and very accurate. It was even great when we had to take a route we didn’t know, after a road was closed and no “alternate route” was posted at all. No problem!

Available enhanced active park assist adds the ability for Explorer to help you with perpendicular parking. Utilizing the vehicle’s 12 ultrasonic sensors, Explorer will scan for suitable parking spaces and will assist in backing the vehicle into the spot. All you have to do is shift, accelerate and brake, and active park assist will take care of the steering.

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 The audio/phone system is also neat its call SYNC and lets you listen to music make a phone call and use voice controls to select apps and tons more.  Including:Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Phone Book Download, Music Search and Control, SYNC® AppLinkTM and No-Extra-Charge 911 Assist.
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Gone Exploring…..So much to see! How beautiful is this scenery?

 

The radio was fun, and had SO MANY options.  It took a hot minute for this not-so-techy chick to figure it out, but it wasn’t too long.  It was fun to explore the stations- there were so many to choose from, which is perfect for a road trip.
The whole “road trip” experience was really enhanced in the Explorer- the seats were comfortable (and had warming options), you could all choose your ideal temperature so no one has to have the heat or AC blasting at you if you are chilly but your partner is not, and there were cup holders galore.  Anyone who has ever taken a family roadtrip can tell you that those are so very necessary, and there are never enough.  Guess what?  There totally were- and there were spots for your keys, sunglasses, and more to be held, too.  Nothing not to love- I was a little too excited about this aspect.  But you know what?  It’s the little things that matter most when it comes to comfort, and I can tell you that I was comfortable the entire time.
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Overall the new Ford Explorer is a blast to drive no matter your expertise or comfort level and will be a favorite for everyone in your household.
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Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat? #therightseat

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children age 1 to 13 in the USA? In 2013, a child under 13 was involved in a crash every 33 seconds.
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During Child Passenger Safety Week, please visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine your child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat inspection event in their area.  Additionally, parents and caregivers can register their child’s car seat with the manufacturer so as to be informed in the event of a recall.
  • If a car seat is not installed correctly, your child’s safety could be compromised. Every car seat has different installation instructions. You can find resources and tips here to help you get “the right fit” on your car seats:     http://www.safercar.gov/parents/RightFit.htm
  • Free Car Seat Inspections: During Child Passenger Safety Week, there will be events across the country where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them. In most cases, this service is free of charge.  Locate a car seat check event here: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm

 Car Seat Safety Tips:

  • Find a car seat that fits your child. As children grow, how they sit in your car will change. Make sure the car seat you purchase is designed to fit your child’s current size and age and allows some room growth.
  • Not all car seats fit in all vehicles so test the car seat you plan to buy to make sure it fits well in your vehicle.
  • Before putting your child in a car seat, read the manufacturer’s instructions so you know how your car seat works and how to install it.
  • All-in-One car seats offer you the advantage of using the same seat for the following positions: rear-facing, forward-facing with harness, then booster. These seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time, which physicians and safety experts strongly recommend.

Remember, the best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use,  fits in your vehicle correctly, and which you’ll use every time…

  • The information here can help you choose the right seat for your child. Keep in mind that:
    • Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
    • Children ages 1-3 should be kept rear-facing as long as they fit the car seat.
    • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
    • Be certain you’ve installed your car seat correctly by having it checked at an inspection station or by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Bring the car seat instructions AND the vehicle owner’s manual with you to a seat check appointment!

Get Your Kids to Buckle Up #KidsBuckleUp

We all know that getting our kids to listen can be a challenge.  There are times you lose the battle, but as long as you win the war, right?  One of the battles you really can’t afford to lose is the battle to buckle up.  Not only is it a lifesaver in a car crash, but it will keep them safe in all those little “road skirmishes” most of us deal with on a regular basis.  Kids who buckle up as soon as they get in the car, every time, will develop that habit, and it will be one that they won’t break as they get older and start driving on their own- so start young, and never let that one go.

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Parenting a tween involves compromise. But here’s one rule that should not be up for debate – the car doesn’t move until everyone is wearing a seat belt. If you say it, and if parents buckle up themselves, your tween will buckle up. And if they don’t, that’s a fight worth having. It might just save your tween’s life.

pic5Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children age 1 to 14 in the USA?  Over the past 5 years, 1,522 kids ages 8-14 died in car, SUV and van crashes. Of those who died, almost half were unbelted.  As children get older they’re less likely to buckle up. The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unrestrained generally increases with age and is most pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds regardless of seating position.
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Are You Prepared For Winter Driving?

Driving in winter can be tricky and dangerous, especially if you’re driving on icy roads. It winter requires drivers to take extra precautions to keep themselves and their passengers safe. To stay protected while driving in winter, make sure your vehicle is prepared and is able to adapt to varying road and weather conditions. The last thing you need is a car that breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm! Aside from your regular maintenance tasks, carry out these checks when you feel the icy months coming.

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          • Wiper blades – Check your windscreen wiper blades for damage, which often occurs when the blades become frozen to the windscreen glass and you try to free them up. Have replacement wipers handy. You can also purchase winter wiper blades. In line with this, make sure you have enough screenwash in your wiper pump as well.
          • Coolant – Check to see if the coolant is between the maximum and the minimum markers, and if there is enough anti-freeze in it. Anti-freeze prevents damage to the engine during winter months and should be refreshed every two years.
          • Car battery – Make sure your car battery is fully charged before using the car, especially if your car has not been used for a period of time. Better yet, have your entire battery and charging system serviced for optimum performance.
          • Tires – Tread is crucial especially when driving in harsh winter conditions. Check your tires’ condition and make sure there is adequate tread. Scrutinize your tires to check for damage such as bulges and splits, and don’t forget to check the pressure. You can also consider buying tires especially made for driving on icy roads as these give you greater grip, control, and traction on slippery surfaces.

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Safety First with Volvo

When buying a new car what are the top features you look for? Maybe a sleek design, killer stereo? IF you have a family neither of those come before safety. Above all else you should know that your car is one of the safest on the roads and today we are going to look at a few safety features which could set your car a step about he rest and might one day, your deity of choice forbid, save your life.

1) What are the bones of your beast made from? Without a strong frame how can your car hope to survive a collision with a shopping cart let alone anything else on four wheels. The new XC90 from Volvo features over 40 per cent hot formed boron steel which increases strength significantly without adding mass or weight to the vehicle what this means is more zoom less boom.
2) How will your car keep you safe while on the road? Why the new Volvos come with Forward Collision Warning which is an accident avoidance system. It scans all objects within 500 feet in front of your car and if an accident is imminent it warns you and prepares the brakes. It can even brake for you should the situation require it. So instead of keeping you safe in an accident it keep you from getting into them in the first place.
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Hertz – Travel Easy, Rent Easy

When starting on a road trip, there are lots of things to factor in. Most important being the mode of transportation being used, of course. Is this a road trip where everyone packs into the old car and zips state to state, checking out the sights and sounds, or more of a long haul where you are going to be doing some serious off roading? If your choice is car, then I would suggest grabbing a rental before taking your regular car with you. Not only will it help keep your car from racking up added miles, but also will give the driver a change of pace. Instead of driving the same care taken to work every day, upgrade to a newer, sleeker car with lots of space for the kids and many entertainment options for all involved. (Just make sure it includes cruise control.)
Hertz to the rescue for your driving needs!  With vehicles ranging from dream cars, prestige, adrenaline, and green travelers there is something for everyone in the fleet.

Traveling with Hertz Rental Cars

Traveling with Hertz Rental Cars

We recently took a 10 day road trip, and rented with Hertz.  We were lucky enough to use a car that was barely used at all- just about a thousand miles on it when we packed our suitcases into it.   Another bonus when you rent with Hertz  is that they will come pick you up at home, so no one needs to drop you off, and you don’t need to leave your car in a parking lot while you are traveling.  (Or alternately, while your car is in the shop, or whatever your needs are.)  Of course, they will drop you off at home when you bring the car back as well- just make sure you arrive back during business hours.
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