Owning a car comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a driver, you’ll be responsible for things like insurance coverage, maintenance and repairs, registrations, and more. Although each of these things will require time and money, failure to follow through on these obligations can lead to a multitude of consequences. These range from traffic violations and court appearances to thousands of dollars down the drain and serious injuries. Knowing who to turn to and what steps you’ll need to take as a motorist can make owning a car easier to manage.
Department of Motor Vehicles
Driving is a privilege that is regulated both by the federal and state government. Part of those regulations requires that everyone who owns a vehicle maintains a positive driving record, updated registration, and valid insurance coverage. Periodically, you’ll be required to submit information to your local department of motor vehicles and pay fees. While the frequency will vary by state, some of the things required of you as a driver are:
- Registering your vehicle
- Passing the state inspection test
- Renewing your license
- Failure to comply with state laws could result in fines, the suspension of your license, and more.
There are two types of lawyers you may need to familiarize yourself with as a motorist. The first is a traffic attorney. Their services are ideal in the event that you’ve been ticketed for a serious traffic violation that comes with significant consequences. For example, a DUI (driving under the influence) ticket could result in thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, and the suspension of your license. A traffic attorney can help to reduce the charges or fines and/or beat your case.
The next legal expert you may need as a driver is a personal injury attorney. If you’re ever involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in injuries, you may need assistance filing a claim and getting adequate compensation. A personal injury lawyer is well-versed in the law and can help you navigate the often murky waters. As personal injury laws vary by state and cities often have their own established network of legal professionals working within the courts, it is best to find an experienced attorney in the place you were injured. For instance, a personal injury law firm in New York City would work best if you were involved in an accident in Midtown Manhattan or hurt while driving along FDR Drive.
Car Insurance Companies
From the very moment that you purchase a car, you’ll need insurance coverage. Car insurance provides financial coverage in the event you’re involved in an accident or the vehicle is stolen or vandalized. Depending on the type of policy you purchase and the circumstances surrounding the accident, the insurance will provide financial coverage that can include damage to your vehicle, damage to other vehicles or property, medical expenses, and more. Most policies can be purchased online and will need to be renewed every six months to a year.
Mechanics and Auto Specialists
Like most machinery, a vehicle needs to be properly maintained in order to keep working efficiently. Keeping up with things like tire rotations and changes, oil and filter changes, brakes and pads, and the changing of filters, fluids, and hoses are crucial to keeping your car on the road safely. It is recommended that you find a reliable mechanic to complete general car maintenance and repairs.
There are other issues that could go wrong with your vehicle that could go beyond the expertise of a general mechanic. For example, if you got dents in your car, you’d see an auto body expert. If you were having engine or transmission problems, you’d have to take your car to an engine and transmission specialists. Your mechanic may be a great person to ask when taking your vehicle elsewhere to be serviced.
You may not have realized it at the time, but purchasing a car and becoming a driver comes with a laundry list of responsibilities. As a motorist, you are responsible for not only making sure that your car is in working order and safe to be on the road, but also ensuring that you’re obeying the law and protected in the event of an accident or unforeseen event. If you aren’t already familiar with these services and service providers, it’s important to get acquainted. They can help to lighten the load so that having a privilege to drive is a convenience and not a hindrance.