getting and owning a car

I got my driver’s permit at 19 and my driver’s license at 20. I learned how to drive in my college town after enrolling in one of the many driving schools offered. It was honestly nerve-wracking, and I felt embarrassed. I felt like the only adult in the whole fucking world without a license. 

Side note – there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Get a license whenever you’re ready. 

Anyway, I continued pursuing my license and dreamt of owning a car, so I could keep practicing while I still lived in a small town. I paid about 70 something dollars for the permit, license, and driving test (it includes two attempts at the test). My driving sucked – ask any of my friends – yet I still passed on my first try. Now, buying a car.

Note – I know nothing about cars.

I bought a car off of Facebook Marketplace from a graduate student that was moving – my sweet 2008 Hyundai Elantra. I never named the car, but I still felt quite an attachment to it. 

So, back to the point of this article. When I was arranging the transfer of ownership, I had to first buy car insurance. I got quotes from a few different insurance companies, but I went with Progressive. They had the best rate for me (a new driver). Some insurance companies give discounts for members of certain Greek organizations, companies, etc. Sometimes for good grades too! Keep an eye out.

Make sure you complete a defensive driving course for an extra discount. It’s an online course you can complete within a certain amount of hours that teach you about safe driving. Just google it, and tons of sites will pop up! The cost ranges from $30 to $100. 

After signing up with Progressive, I was ready to be the proud owner of the charming 2008 Hyundai Elantra. We went to the DMV together, filled out the necessary paperwork (which you can also find online if you want to be aware or fill it out ahead of time), and said goodbye. It was mine! I can’t remember if they gave me my title right away or if they gave me a temporary one and sent the real one in the mail. Most likely the latter. Same with the car registration. I also had to get the car inspected to comply with NY state regulations.

I got my license plates and returned the old ones to the graduate student. I was ready to go, baybee.

Of course, within a week of getting the car, I hit someone’s mailbox. I got a ticket. I paid it off and talked with the owner of the mailbox. Bless his soul for not making me pay for the mailbox. He said his daughter had been in six accidents, and he understood the struggles of being a new driver. He was so nice.

Learning how to become an acceptable driver was a struggle. It was so embarrassing at first, and some of my friends made fun of me (we talked it through). Lots of bumps and scrapes, but over the course of the two years, I became a pretty good driver. I went on multiple road trips across New York and across states. It was so fun! Big shoutout to my friends for going with me.

Car maintenance was a bitch, not going to lie. My car’s battery randomly died one day, I had to buy a new one. I left my car in my friend’s parking lot over the summer, and the fucking wheels rusted. I had to replace all 4 of the metal rotating thingies. Oil changes every few thousand miles, headlight replacements, etc. Thank you, Midas, for fixing all that stuff whenever I needed it.

Hyundai Elantra lived with me for about two years – I just gave it away to my cousin. I moved out of NY, so I didn’t need it anymore. I went through the same process again but from the other end. I signed over the title, filled out the paperwork, and mailed my license plates back to the DMV.

Here’s me saying goodbye to my Hyundai Elantra that I loved so dearly yet never bothered to name.

Author: Vero Silvestri

A 22 year old trying to figure shit out.

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