Which Car Color Attracts the Most Bird Poop?

For weeks, you’ve driven around with “Wash Me” etched on your back window, boldly defying cleanliness and dirty looks alike. You’ve contemplated a (pricey) trip to the car wash. You even prayed for rain.

One day, the dirt finally becomes too much and you cave in. You wash your car and give it a good wax, but the next day — splat. A pigeon poops on your hood.

If this has happened to you, chances are you’ve wondered: “Why me? Is it karma … or just the car I drive?”

Well, according to a recent study from the UK, the color of your car could make your ride more prone to avian waste. So which colors are bird magnets?

Birds poop on red cars most

Though red cars don’t cost more to insure, they do attract more bird droppings than any other car color. A study sponsored by Halfords (a car accessory chain) measured the frequency with which 1,140 cars in 5 cities around the UK got bird bombed and found that red cars were hit the most (18 percent of cars attacked were red). Green cars, on the other hand, were generally spared (only 1 percent of the cars pooped on were green).

Why this color preference among the birds? Do red cars fire their tempers? Are green cars just so pacific (and rare) that the birds want to give them amnesty? So far, only the birds know, but maybe one day they’ll tweet us the answer.

Why bird droppings damage car paint

For years, we’ve heard that the alkaline and acidic substance of bird doo-doo corrodes car paint, eventually etching the damage into the paint itself.

But according to research from Autoglym, car-care experts based in the UK (is it me or are the Brits obsessed?), it’s not the acid that’s to blame — it’s the heat.

Say you park your just-pooped-on car in the sun. The sun’s rays will warm the paint so that it softens and expands while hardening the droppings on its surface. Once the lacquer cools, it hardens and molds to birdie’s little gift, dulling the paint.

How to clean bird poop

Okay, we all know that soap and water will work wonders on wet and dry droppings alike. But is there a secret removal technique we don’t know about?

Autoglym experts recommend removing the dropping ASAP with a moist cloth to gently lift the unwanted deposit from the surface. If it’s dried, place a damp cloth over it for 10 minutes and then remove.

Others recommend pouring unsalted seltzer water over the dropping and wiping it with a microfiber cloth once the water has bubbled away.

What’s your tried-and-true method for easy removal?

Related link

6 tips for an eco-friendly car wash

 

2 African-American Inventors Who Changed the World

At Esurance, we love technology. Mobile apps, online repair monitoring, Twitter, Facebook — we just can’t get enough. So what better way to celebrate Black History Month than by honoring 2 African-American inventors whose technological innovations helped shape our modern world?

Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr.

Ever thanked a stoplight for saving your life? Then you owe one to Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr. for this ingenious device. While he didn’t invent the very first traffic signal — which consisted of manually operated “Stop” and “Go” signs — his version did offer a significant improvement: an intermediary stage that stopped traffic in all directions.

This lessened the potential for those mid-intersection accidents that were so common with the older signs (which left no interval between “Stop” and “Go” for cars to slow down). With the all-stop signal added, cars were less likely to get hit by cross traffic.

While Morgan’s invention was eventually surpassed by the current red-yellow-green system, his invention did a lot to save lives in its time. In fact, a Federal Highway Administration education program bears his name to this day: the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program.

To learn more about traffic lights and the vital role they play in keeping our roads safe, check out our article on right-of-way laws.

Fred Jones

Born May 17, 1893, in Covington, Kentucky, Fred Jones’ adventurous life would take him from working in an auto repair shop to becoming a class-A racer and world-class inventor. Over the course of his career, he created revolutionary products in a number of industries, including cinema, medicine, and, most importantly perhaps, shipping.

In fact, if you’ve ever purchased a Mexican mango, a Florida orange, or a Kobe steak in your local supermarket, you’ve got Fred Jones to thank. Why?

Because Jones invented the refrigeration units now used in shipping trucks, trains, boats, and ships. In fact, without the technology to ship perishable goods cross-country (or even internationally), the very concept of the supermarket would’ve been impossible.

Quite the contribution.

These two inventors helped save lives and make daily life that much better. What other African-American innovators deserve some credit? Sound off by leaving a comment below!

Related links

Read up on the life of Fred Jones

Learn more about Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr.

 

 

14 Backseat Love Songs that Sizzle

In January, we asked our Facebook fans what they loved most about their first car. Some cherished the freedom it provided while others reminisced about the cost of gas when they were 16. But quite a few fans summed it up in 2 words: the backseat.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, the thought of backseat rendezvous inspired me to compile a list of songs about cars and falling in love. Enjoy these tunes with your honey to jump-start the romance.

Love song #1.     “Back Seat of My Car,” Paul McCartney

Ah, young love. These carefree lovers “believe that [they] can’t be wrong” as they break “her daddy’s” rules to be together.“We’re just busy hidin’, sittin’ in the backseat of my car.”

Love song #2.     “I Drove All Night,” Roy Orbison

Roy sings about driving all night to surprise his lady. “Could taste your sweet kisses, your arms open wide. This fever for you was just burning me up inside.” Though we’d normally caution against drowsy driving, it’s clear that for Old Roy, love is a stronger stimulant than caffeine. (But if you need a song to keep you awake, check out Celine Dion’s version.)

Love song #3.     “Big Green Tractor,” Jason Aldean

Okay, it’s technically not a car. But who wouldn’t want to hop on a tractor with Mr. Aldean? “We can go to town, but baby if you’d rather, I’ll take you for a ride on my big green tractor.”

Love song #4.     “Take It Easy,” The Eagles

Those 1970s rockers sure knew how to go big. “Seven women on [his] mind,” doesn’t stop this guy from picking up yet another: “It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

Love song #5.     “Don’t Happen Twice,” Kenny Chesney

Falling in love for the first time on the hood of a car “just don’t happen twice.” (Does it?)

Love song #6.     “Little Red Corvette,” Prince

There’s something about women and sports cars that get men going. In this case, the 2 are, ahem, the same: “Little red corvette, baby you’re much too fast.”

Love song #7.     “Backseat,” New Boyz

So much for subtlety. New Boyz forgo any chivalry and get right to the point: “I wanna get beside ya in the backseat.” (I couldn’t resist including this one.)

Love song #8.      “Pink Cadillac,” Bruce Springsteen  

Can a car make you fall in love? “My love is bigger than a Honda, it’s bigger than a Subaru … I love you for your pink Cadillac.” All signs point to yes.

Love song #9.     “Freeway of Love,” Aretha Franklin

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the ladies! Ms. Franklin and her man won’t stop for anything. “Never you mind the exit signs … we goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love.” That’s so much sexier than the original line: “Gotta stop at the tollbooth … when we’re crawlin’ down the turnpike of love.”

Love song #10.  “Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood

For those not embracing the Valentine’s Day spirit, this song will definitely fuel your anti-Cupid sentiment. Sing your heart out with Carrie … just don’t take her lyrics literally! “I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires. Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.”

Love song #11.  “Drive My Car,” The Beatles

This aspiring starlet’s “got no car and it’s breaking [her] heart” … but at least she’s “found a driver and that’s a start.”

Love song #12.  “What was I thinking?” Dierks Bentley 

When this cowboy swung by to pick up Becky in the middle of the night, he knew “there’d be hell to pay,” but can’t help “thinkin’ ‘bout a long kiss with his new girl.” In the end, his car takes a beating. Was it worth it?

Love song #13.  “The One I Loved Back Then,” George Jones 

Sometimes true love is unexpected — like when it happens for your car. “Lord, she was hotter than a 2 dollar pistol … she reminds me of the one I loved back then.”

Love song #14.  “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts,” Cake

Got love for bucket seats? Not when you want to sit a little closer to your sweetie. “I need you here with me, not way over in a bucket seat.”

What’s your favorite car-related love song? Let us know in the comments section! 

Are You in Love … with Your Car Insurer?

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many hopeless romantics are on the lookout for love, pining for that supportive partner they can trust completely, have at their side for years, and (most important) brag about to their friends

Come to think of it, this steadfast companion can actually be your car insurance company.

Yes, auto insurers can resemble loving spouses or partners in more ways than you’ve ever imagined — if, of course, you have the right one. Because few things are more frustrating than meeting an insurer you think you could love, only to find it’s not what it said it was (or, worse, still lives with its parents).

So is your car insurer a stud or dud? Take our quiz and rate your auto coverage mate.

1. How did you and your car insurer meet?

a)    Set up on a blind quote by friends

b)    Charmed by a late-night commercial … next morning, you were a policyholder

c)    Facebook and Twitter

d)    Good old-fashioned phone conversation

Most lovable answer: A, C, or D. Glossy commercials are nice, but meaningful car insurance relationships only start when you find out what’s beneath the price tag. Whether this involves having friends introduce you to companies they trust, using social media to learn about an insurer’s track record, or just dialing the phone, it pays to go beyond skin deep.

2. During your first conversation, your car insurer …

a)    Made you feel nervous about revealing your driving history

b)    Guaranteed you coverage — no matter what was in your past

c)    Encouraged you to be totally open about your current and past driving

d)    Asked if you wanted to be its date to a friend’s wedding

Most lovable answer: C. Opening up about past accidents, unreliable cars, or other so-called “flaws” is exactly how you find the best insurance company for you. Being dishonest in the beginning only results in more heartbreak (i.e., higher premiums) later on. Some insurers might say “no thanks,” but, really, that’s good. It brings you that much closer to your perfect match.

3. Before having you sign a policy, your car insurer …

a)    Told you how much coverage you needed

b)    Asked you what coverages and limits you felt comfortable with

c)    Skimmed over complicated terms and concepts

d)    Requested a pre-nup

Most lovable answer: B. Always express what you hope to get from the relationship. How much protection do you need? Should you exceed your state’s minimum liability limits? What deductibles can you handle? Insurance is complicated, so you want an insurer who will help you understand the coverages in your policy.

4. You’ve driven claims-free for years. How does your insurer respond?

a)    “Nice work, champ!” while tussling your hair

b)    Doesn’t even notice

c)    “Wow, has it been that many years … ‘cause it’s felt way longer.”

d)    With freshly-wrapped discounts*

Most lovable answer: D. Great partnerships work best when you both make each other feel special. And after years of safe driving, receiving a shiny discount on your next anniversary (renewal) makes an impact.

5. When you have to file a claim, your insurer …

a)    Does its best to help in any way possible without making you feel guilty

b)    Yells at you for being so careless

c)    Raises your premium without hearing your side

d)    Cancels your family vacation to Hawaii

Most lovable answer: A. A stressful event can threaten any marriage. But with the right attitude, these frustrating times can make you both stronger. Report a claim honestly to your insurer — and, in return, it should work calmly to resolve the issue. It’s the service you’re paying for, after all.

6. Growing weary after a long relationship, you bring up the idea of changing companies. How does your insurer react?

a)    “No!!! I can’t go on without you!!!”

b)    Suggests changes it can make to refresh your policy

c)    “Go on then, get lost — you won’t find better.”

d)    Silent treatment

Most lovable answer: B. If you’re in a rut, there are ways to shake up your policy and restore your enthusiasm. And a good insurer will be eager to find them. You might be surprised how those who’ve known you for years can keep the relationship fresh.

7. If you and your car insurer were a movie couple, you’d be …

a)    Jack and Rose, Titanic: No matter how well you get along, an urgent case of property damage always seems to steal your thunder.

b)    Harry and Sally, When Harry Met Sally: It took a marathon road trip for you to realize there might be some sparks.

c)    Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet: Confusing lingo is your strongest bond.

d)    Jack and Annie, Speed: The faster things get going, the more you need each other.

Most lovable answer: Trick question!

You’ve got our number

If you’re thinking about searching for a new car insurance soul mate, we’d like to remind you that we’re available (and love going to the drive-in on first dates).

Get a free quote or just stop by to leave us some love.

*Depending on your insurer, this discount may not be available in all states.

Cars vs. Mardi Gras Floats: Which Is the Better Ride?

Every winter, throngs of people head to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras (which, coincidentally, is today). And if you’re one of the lucky Mardi Gras parade attendees, you’ll probably leave the festivities shouting, “Sweet Knights of Babylon, can you believe those parade floats?! I wish there were more of those things!”

Little did you know this is a serious issue among native Louisianans — an issue that’s now morphed into a single, daring, and undeniably critical question: Should we stop driving cars and, instead, replace them with parade floats?

It’s not a question to be taken lightly. So let’s start tallying scores and settle this bayou-born dispute once and for all.

Licensing

Getting a drivers license can cost you hours of classroom time and behind-the-wheel training, plus months of agonized waiting. On the flip side, however, you can earn your float-driving license in just one day! (Who wants to spend all that time inside a tragically fluorescent DMV classroom when you could be cruising the town in a 4-mph blur?)

Floats: 1, Cars: 0

Insurance costs

Assessing the insurability of a car isn’t always easy. The miles on the odometer, the safety features, and the accident history are just a few things to consider.

Then there are the after-factory parts and equipment. Floats are predominantly covered in flowers, and, seeing as Valentine’s Day is just 2 days away, replacing a petunia-covered bumper (not to mention that rose petal hubcap) would be astronomical.

Floats: 1, Cars: 1

Ease of use

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You pull up to a busy intersection. You crane and contort your neck most uncomfortably to check for traffic. After a few glances in each direction, you inevitably exhaust yourself. Slumped in your seat, panting for breath, unsure if you’ll ever drive again, you ask yourself, “Isn’t there an easier way?”

Well, buck up — there is.

Parade floats come with a designated spotter, someone who walks backward in front of the float and tells the driver when to stop. In other words, watching for traffic becomes someone else’s job, and your neck can go back to doing the things it loves.

Floats: 2, Cars: 1

Parallel parking

While driving floats may be exciting, parking them is another story. We can just hear it now: “Swing it in … you’re almost there … just 27 feet from the curb … you almost have it … STOP… OK, too far, you just uprooted a palm tree … try again.”

Point goes to cars.

Floats: 2, Cars: 2

Movie star potential

Safety and insurability are clearly important. However, the ultimate test of a vehicle (for some people, ahem) is how well it can transition to the silver screen. And, sadly, that’s where floats falter. Look what happens to some of Hollywood’s most beloved productions when you swap cars for floats:

  • Driving Miss Daisy (On what, a bed of daisies?)
  • Back to the Future (No way a float withstands 1.21 gigawatts!)
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (60 minutes, maybe.)
  • Risky Business (Without the Porsche, it suddenly seems … less so.)

Floats: 2, Cars, 3

Fine. We’ll give cars one more chance. But the next time yours acts sassy, just whisper this simple reminder of how truly close we are to becoming a world full of floats.

Read on to find out more about driving in Louisiana, including key car insurance info for motorists in the Pelican State.