Esurance Now Offers Car Insurance in Idaho

Esurance is thrilled to announce that it now offers car insurance in Idaho. We haven’t been here long, but we’ve already learned enough amazing stuff about the Gem State to fill a treasure chest.

We want to show our excitement by taking a virtual trip through the forty-third state’s history, culture, and, of course, roads and share some of our favorite findings.

3 Idaho fun facts

Idaho is, scientifically speaking, super-duper precious
It didn’t get the “Gem State” moniker for nothing. Idaho is home to a cornea-cracking 72 precious and semi-precious stones, some of which, like the Bruneau Jasper or Star Garnet, can’t be found in any other state.

Idaho has the deepest river gorge in North America
The deepest river gorge in North America is Idaho’s Hells Canyon. Measuring 7,900 feet deep, Hells Canyon is even deeper than the Grand Canyon (whose depth is a measly 5,820 feet or so).

Getting lost is so not Idaho
Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark’s personal guide and one of the most famous navigators of all time, was born here.

3 bodacious Idaho byways

Northern Idaho: Gold Rush Historic Byway
This 42.5-mile route may not be long, but it packs in all the wildlife, scenery, and landmarks you could ever want. Some main attractions include the town of Pierce (where gold was first discovered in Idaho), key points from Lewis and Clark’s journey, and the Clearwater Valley — a lush farmer’s paradise offering an awesome panoramic view.

Central and Western Idaho: Oregon Trail Back Country Byway
Spend all day traversing the trail of the original wagon-covered pioneers who braved the Idaho desert en route to Oregon. Two-thirds of the path is still gravel — not pavement — so you can get that authentic, hoof-obliterating vibe that so many oxen knew all too well.

Eastern Idaho: Bear Lake Scenic Byway
This 110-mile route touches on some of the state’s ultra-cool water formations. Take a dip in the world-renowned Lava Hot Springs, check out the Soda Springs geyser (the world’s only mechanically controlled, or captive, geyser), and follow the twisting path (if you can) of the 300-mile Bear River.

3 recommended road-trip stops

The Basque Market
This state has diverse food options that go far beyond the spud. Basque food is particularly plentiful because Idaho has the largest population of Basque people (those indigenous to northwestern Spain and southwestern France) anywhere outside of Europe. And the Basque Market, located in downtown Boise, is a great place to get a taste of the area’s tapasheavy cuisine — from paella to bocadillos to native meats, olives, wines, and cheeses.

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
Above all else, perhaps, Idaho is a paradise for the outdoorsy. And it’s hard to beat a day in the wintry mountains. The Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is a Treasure Valley winter playground with an elevation of 7,600 feet and average snowfall of 200 to 250 inches per year. It offers a range of activities from snowboarding and sledding to snowshoeing and resort lounging. It also has the most acres available for night skiing anywhere in the Northwest (which just sounds awesome!).

Idaho potato museum
Sometimes it’s best not to overthink things. When you have a chance to visit a real life potato museum, you take it, and that’s that. Located in downtown Blackfoot, the Idaho Potato Museum will revel in the chance to educate you on this tasty vegetable — and for only $3 a ticket. You’ll also have the opportunity to view antique farming equipment, marvel at the world’s largest potato chip, and purchase potato lotion! (Really, though, if you haven’t tried potato lotion at this point in your life, you may be a lost cause.)

3 helpful Idaho car insurance coverages

Comprehensive coverage
Idaho has its share of unpredictable terrain and incremental weather. Luckily, our comprehensive coverage can protect your ride from whatever Mother Nature throws at it — whether a natural disaster, loping deer, or toppling boulder.

Emergency road service coverage
All that wintry fun in Idaho comes at a price. If you have a dead battery or find yourself stranded in a snow bank, you can count on emergency road service coverage to safely get you to the nearest repair shop.

Rental car coverage
If your wheels are in the shop, you can’t let that setback get in the way of your commute. And with all the miles Idaho spans, you could have a ways to go. Thankfully, Esurance’s CarMatch® Rental coverage can help pay for a temporary ride so not even an accident or vehicle theft will slow you down.

Get your Idaho car insurance from Esurance!

Esurance’s expert coverage options don’t stop there. And now that we’re a part of the Idaho community, you can chat with us anytime on how to improve your car insurance policy.

Give us  call at 1-800-378-7262 or get a free quote.

Related link

Learn about coverages, discounts, and more in Idaho

Will Google Glass End Distracted Driving?

Google just won’t quit. First they reinvented how we search for info, then they moved on to driverless cars, and now they’re looking to remake the human-tech interface entirely with Google Glass, the mobile device you wear (like a pair of glasses).

As we’ve seen with smartphones and the rise in distracted driving, new tech inevitably impacts how we drive. And Glass stands to dramatically affect the safety of our roads.

But how, exactly? The way I see it, Glass will change driving in 1 of 2 ways: either it’ll eradicate distraction entirely … or it’ll create more opportunities for straying eyes, wandering minds, and drifting cars.

Let’s look at both sides of the argument.

Google Glass will make driving distraction-free

On one hand, Google Glass could make driving much safer because it takes those distracting mobile devices out of our hands.

Users activate and interact with Glass using minimal gestures and voice (à la Apple’s Siri technology), calling up information and media on a tiny screen that sits just above the line of sight. And that means less one-hand-on-the-wheel texting or eyes-off-the-road GPS-adjusting. With Google Glass resting comfortably on their faces, drivers will be able to pull up directions, send messages, and even shoot video and photos — all with their hands (mostly) at 10 and 2 and eyes (mostly) on the road.

Plus, with GPS directions displayed right before their eyes, drivers might find it easier than ever to navigate since their direction of travel and their eyeline will better cohere. (Ever had to tilt your phone around to make the map reflect your current location and direction?)

Sounds a whole lot safer than driving with a smartphone in hand, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not.

Google Glass will only amplify driver distraction

Despite many people’s assumptions, using a mobile device with some sort of hands-free technology (such as a headphone with integral speaker or a Bluetooth device) isn’t that much safer than driving with a smartphone in hand.

In fact, the National Safety Council has boldly stated that “Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving.”

But why not? If your eyes are on the road and your hands on the wheel, you’re good to go, right?

Google Glass and the 3 types of distraction

Turns out that there are 3 types of distraction that can happen while driving:

  1. Visual – what your eyes are doing, obviously
  2. Manual – where your hands are
  3. Cognitive – how close to reality (or up in the clouds) your mind is

So while 2 out of 3 doesn’t seem so bad, Google Glass stands to be a huge source of cognitive distraction — and that’s the type of distraction that seems to have the greatest impact, according to researchers.

The reason: cognitive distraction is less immediately apparent than visual and manual distraction. After all, it’s easy to tell when you’ve been gazing adoringly at your copilot too long or let your hands roam too far in the quest for that rogue french fry. But when your mind is wandering … well, it’s just wandering. And that means cognitive distraction tends to last much longer than the other types, with every second of distraction raising the chance for a collision.

It’s also worth noting that Glass does require some manual interaction, roughly equivalent to what your average specs-wearing driver might engage in just to keep their lenses in the right place. So since Glass is not purely hands-free, manual distraction could still happen.

Glass and the value of peripheral vision

There’s also the concern that Glass — while designed to sit above the users’ line of sight — could impinge on drivers’ peripheral vision. And this kind of vision is surprisingly useful while driving.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, peripheral vision plays 2 key roles:

  1. It helps drivers detect info that could affect safety, including road signs, hazards, and changes in traffic flow.
  2. It helps control the vehicle. When you look in the rearview mirror, you use your peripheral vision to watch the road ahead. And when your gaze is centered on the lane, peripheral vision helps keep you between the lane boundaries.

Limiting peripheral vision could therefore lead to:

  • Failing to react to a hazard coming from the far left or far right
  • Not heeding a stoplight suspended over an intersection
  • Weaving while negotiating a curve
  • Driving too close to parked cars

The jury’s in: Google Glass won’t end distracted driving

Despite the very real chance that Glass could curb 2 of the 3 distractions that plague drivers, it could also dramatically increase the risk of cognitive distraction, a powerful force in causing accidents. And when you add even the possibility of limited peripheral vision, it seems pretty clear that Google Glass isn’t the solution to ending distraction behind the wheel.

But, as always, we’re curious what you think. Let us know in the comments!

Related links

Will driving with Google Glass be outlawed in your state?
Possibilities and pitfalls: the Google Glass debate continues
4 surprising distracted driving facts (and some possible solutions)


4 Distracted Driving Facts and Solutions

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Rather than posting at the beginning of the month, however, we thought we’d wait until the end as a reminder that distracted driver awareness should extend well beyond the confines of April. And, rather than lecturing you about distracting driving (c’mon, we all know it’s dangerous), we thought we’d offer up some facts you might find surprising … and perhaps sobering.

1. Holding your phone while driving is illegal in California

Both talking and texting without a hands-free device have been outlawed in California for a few years now. But recently, a California appeals court ruled that Steven Spriggs violated that law when he used his phone as a navigation device.

California law states: “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” Though Spriggs was likely not talking to his device (though, let’s be honest, we’ve all yelled at our GPS at some point), he was holding it to navigate, and according to the appeals court, that’s a no-no.

Distracted driving solution: Even though GPS isn’t banned in most states, typing map coordinates and looking at directions is just as dangerous as texting. Instead, set your coordinates ahead of time (or pull over) and use a program that provides turn-by-turn navigation. That way, you can listen instead of look. Granted, it’s not a perfect solution — listening is a cognitive distraction — but driving around lost and confused can actually be worse.

2. Baby on Board means distracted driver on board too

I, admittedly, have never been a fan of the Baby on Board bumper sticker (let’s hope my driving is safe enough that it doesn’t need to be adjusted for your little one). But, while I used to get annoyed when I saw the sign, now I feel nervous. According to ABC News, a recent Australian study — the first of its kind — found that driving with kids is 12 times more distracting than talking on a cell phone!

Researchers report that, on average, parents take their eyes off the road for 3 minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute trip. After all, it’s harder to ignore a screaming child than a ringing cell phone (if only you could set a child to silent mode …).

Distracted driving solution: Obviously we can’t ban kids in cars, so it’s important for parents to be prepared before setting out. Scheduling drives around nap time, having child-accessible snacks handy, and setting expectations ahead of time can help reduce some of this distraction. If your child needs your attention NOW, pull over rather than put yourself, your child, and others at risk.

3. Distracted driving is more common in the U.S. than in Europe

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared distracted driving in the U.S. with 7 European countries and found that drivers in the U.S. had the highest rate of talking while driving and one of the highest for texting and driving. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. respondents admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving. Meanwhile, only about 20 percent of drivers in the UK are guilty of this habit.

Distracted driving solution: If you can’t trust yourself to ignore the phone, stick it in the trunk or install a driving app to automatically send a message that you’re driving and will respond later.

4. Adults text and drive more often than teens

Though teen drivers usually take the spotlight in the distracted driving discussion, a recent survey by AT&T shows that adults are actually the bigger culprits (so much for being good role models). Though 98 percent of respondents claimed they knew that texting and driving is dangerous, 49 percent of adults admitted to doing it anyway (compared to 43 percent of teens). And this number is up from 3 years ago!

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows slightly different results — 18- to 20-year- olds not only text/email more often than older drivers, but also have had more accidents as a result. Talking on the phone while driving, however, was still dominated by adult drivers.

Distracted driving solution: Pretty similar to the one above. But if you’re an Esurance customer with a teen driver, we have an added solution for you …

Esurance offers free teen driver safety device

Even though teens may not be the biggest distracted driving culprits, they aren’t too far behind. And, as new drivers, they need all the extra help they can get.

But now, with our teen safety driving device, parents can control what apps their teen can and can’t use behind the wheel.

Best of all, if you’re an Esurance customer with a teenage driver, the device is free. Learn more about our teen driver safety device.

Tell us your thoughts

What do you find to be the biggest driving distraction? And how do you combat it? Let us know in the comments section!

Star Trek Into Darkness: 30,000 Free Tickets

The instant ticket giveaway has ended. Check our Facebook page for our newest promotions!

From warp-speed quotes to forward-thinking technology (like our handy tools and mobile app), Esurance is launching car insurance into the future. So what could be more logical than partnering with the new movie Star Trek Into Darkness (arriving in theatres May 17)?

If you’re like us, you can’t wait for the sheer pulse-pounding excitement of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura’s adventures. And now we have 30,000 more reasons to be excited.

The Esurance Instant Ticket Giveaway — Star Trek Into Darkness

From now until May 19, we’re giving away 500 pairs of tickets a day to see Star Trek Into Darkness in your choice of regular or 3-D theatres. That’s 30,000 tickets!

Just head to our Facebook page for your chance to win 2 tickets to the J.J. Abrams-directed flick … instantly!

Enter every day to increase your chances of winning.

Even more reasons to visit our Facebook tab

As if free movie tickets weren’t enough, we’ve got behind-the-scenes footage, trailers, image downloads, and, of course, a Vulcanizer.

Visit our Facebook page now to enter the ticket giveaway, check out our Star Trek Into Darkness content, and become a Vulcan … anything else would be illogical.

The stuff our legal team makes us say

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes begins 12:00 p.m., PT 4/19/13, ends 5/19/13 at 11:59 p.m., PT and consists of up to thirty-one (31) independent daily “instant win” sweepstakes. Open to legal residents of any U.S. state or DC who are at least 18 and age of majority. Internet access, a Facebook account in good standing, and a “Like” of Sponsor’s page are required. Void where prohibited.  Limit one (1) entry per person, per email address, per daily sweepstakes. SUBJECT TO OFFICIAL RULES located on the Sweepstakes tab at Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Esurance Insurance Services, Inc., 650 Davis St., San Francisco, CA 94111-1922.

The Led Zeppelin Guide to Windshield Protection

You’re driving down the highway, Zeppelin’s on the radio, and you’re (safely) rocking out behind the wheel. That is, until the truck in front of you kicks up some debris and “rocking out” takes on an entirely different meaning. After being showered with pebbles, you notice a small nick in your windshield. But it’s not affecting your line of vision and seems safely relegated to one spot. So you put it out of your mind and “ramble on.” After all, a little chip is no big deal, right?

Well, maybe not initially. But over time, that chip could turn into a crack … and a crack can damage the entire structure of your windshield. In fact, according to research from Swansea Metropolitan University, 50 percent of chips crack within a year, 80 percent within 2 years, and 90 percent within 3 years. Considering your windshield provides up to 45 percent of your car’s structural integrity, it’s not something you want to gamble with.

To protect your windshield, keep these Led Zeppelin-infused tips in the back of your mind.

Windshield protection tips

  1. Maintain a safe distance. Trucks lose objects from their beds and cars can send rocks flying (doesn’t it always seems like “the dust that floats finds you”?), so maintaining a safe driving distance is the best way to avoid glass damage … and rear-end collisions.
  2. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Whether you’re where the “sun burns the ground” or in “the land of the ice and snow,” sudden temperature changes can create stress on your windshield. If your windshield already has a chip or small crack, turning on the heat or A/C in extreme temperatures could cause it to spread.
  3. Inspect your vehicle’s windshield on a regular basis. If you see glass damage, have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further problems. Otherwise, you’ll be crying that it’s “nobody’s fault but mine.”

Dealing with windshield damage

Of course, no matter how many windshield protection measures you take, sometimes an errant rock is just unavoidable. Here are some tips for avoiding excess stress.

  1. Repair rather than replace. “Yes, there are 2 paths you can go by, but in the long run,” repairing a chip is less costly than a complete replacement. Generally, if the windshield damage is less than 6 inches, or the size of a dollar bill, it can be repaired.
  2. Find a reputable repair shop. Not all windshield blemishes need to be repaired. Do your homework and find a reputable glass company that will be honest about your needs. Check sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, or ask your insurance company to recommend a trustworthy glass repair shop in your area (“never let them tell you that they’re all the same”). When choosing a company, make sure they guarantee their work.
  3. Don’t wait to do repairs. If repairs are necessary, the sooner you take care of them, the better. If you wait too long, the crack may become too large to fix and your entire windshield will need to be replaced. And at that point, “cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good.”
  4. Be aware of scam artists. Unfortunately, windshield scams are on the rise. If someone approaches you offering to fix a chip or crack for free, don’t let them. Instead, get yourself to a trusted repair shop where they will “tell [you] no lies, make [you] a happy man” (or woman). Learn more about these parking lot cons.

Though windshield nicks are a natural part of a car’s wear and tear, always keep an eye out for new or expanding blemishes. If a small crack looks like it’s beginning to spread, take it as a hint to get it fixed. After all, even windshields have their share of good times and bad times.