Are you a college freshman with a car on campus? Having a car as a college student can be both a blessing and a burden. On the one hand, you can get around town easily, have a way to travel during breaks and holidays, and are the go-to person for game day tailgate parties. On the other hand, parking permit fees are ridiculously expensive, and you may find that you are suddenly everybody’s best friend when it’s time to go grocery shopping. So, what’s a student driver to do? Here are some tips for getting through college with a car on campus.
1. Really pay attention to those campus parking signs.
Read campus parking signs carefully, especially during the first few weeks of school. The fine print on signs might include specific hours, specific types of permits, or time limits. Forgetting to put your hazard lights on while you stop by a professor’s office hours could be the difference between a stress-free stop and a parking ticket, so keep an eye out for your college’s parking policies until you know your way around.
2. Pay parking tickets right away.
If you do get a ticket or have a problem, deal with it immediately. Schools sometimes have penalties like a bar on your class registration abilities, vehicle impounding, or additional fees for late or multiple unpaid citations.
3. Find the right auto insurance for you and your budget.
It doesn’t matter if you drive a shiny new sports car or your mom’s ancient mini-van; you still need car insurance. Why get car insurance? It helps to financially protect you and your car in the event of a car accident, or if for example, your car is broken into or a bird smashes into your windshield. Choose an insurance company that will work with you to give you affordable auto insurance with the right amount of coverage.
If you are attending school out of your home state, check the insurance laws of that state to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. Also keep in mind that you could get a discount for being a good student. Check with your insurance provider to find out if they offer discounted rates for students with a good GPA or who are on the honor roll or Dean’s List.
4. Take precautions when you park.
To better protect your car from break-ins, it’s best to park in well-lit areas that get a lot of foot traffic. Hide your valuables and any bags under seats and cover up anything you may be storing in the backseat or trunk.
5. Put up a sunshade.
If you’re leaving your car in a sunny parking lot long-term, put a sunshade up in your windshield. It will help keep the interior from overheating and the dashboard and fabric from fading.
6. Beware of game days.
If your university hosts major sporting events, it may need to clear space for parking on campus during home games. In the days leading up to a big game, signs may go up notifying drivers that those spots must be vacated by a certain time, or else be towed.
While it may be difficult getting used to the parking restrictions on campus, you’ll enjoy having the freedom that comes with having a car on campus. Late night pizza run anyone? Last minute road trip? Fill up the tank, check your tires, and hit the road!