How to Cut Down Your Time at the DMV

Going to the DMV has to be one of my least favorite things about adulting. It’s all boring paperwork, long waits, short answers that lead to more questions, weird smells, and uncomfortable chairs. Additionally, it’s the place where you are sure to take a photo worse than your 7th grade yearbook picture.

With all of these things that none of us look forward to, going to the DMV is a chore that everyone wants to spend as little time as possible checking off their list.

Though most experiences at the DMV are anything but memorable, I have the honor of saying that I am a part of an elite club of people who have gotten a number 1 ticket at the DMV. That’s right, number 1! As the DMV opened they blasted “Happy” By Pharell, and I felt amazing walking out of there before the song was even over. 

How to Cut Down Your Time at the DMV from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

This day is still a joke in my family and the picture of my DMV ticket is my mother’s screensaver, which serves as a prop to her favorite punchline that at least one of her kids was number one in something. All jokes aside, waking up at 4am like I did to be first is a great way to get in and out of the DMV but it isn’t always realistic.

There has to be other ways to make the trip to the DMV less aggravating.

Come Prepared with the Right Paperwork

We all know what to bring, yet we are all offenders of not coming prepared. The information is usually online, but being blinded by a one-track mind, we forget that the answers to our questions are at our fingertips. Slow down and take the time to gather  the information that can be answered online, and call before arriving to make sure you have everything you need. 

In addition, bring more than one document for what you are told you need. For example, having more than one copy of your proof of car insurance before registering your car at the DMV quickens the entire process. If you’re looking to register your motorcycle with the DMV, you will also need proof of motorcycle insurance. Sometimes there are fine lines for what will be accepted so having backups will keep you from having to come back again.

Another way to be prepared is to look online or call to check the busy times of your local DMV. Different DMVs have different busy schedules so going to one a little farther outside of your city may be what saves you the most time on your schedule. 

Also check the calendar because most DMVs are busiest in the beginning and end of each month. If what you need can wait until the middle of the month you’re most likely to have a shorter experience than if you go on the first or last business day of the month.

Learn the Tricks of the Trade

How to Cut Down Your Time at the DMV from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Sometimes to get ahead you have to move smarter, not faster, and continuously learning new practices will make you feel like a DMV winner. Waking up at the crack of dawn isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but you can still find out what tricks that will play in your favor.

Go as Late as Possible 

The early bird may catch the worm, but the late bird gets the nest all to themselves. Think of any job you’ve ever had, and if you’re being honest, you can admit that towards the end of the day everyone starts moving a little quicker so they can go home. DMV workers are no different.

Check what times your DMV closes and till what time they accept walk-ins.However, only use this trick for things that can go quickly such as renewing documents like licenses and registrations. 

Distract Yourself

A part of the DMV turmoil is feeling like you’re waiting forever, so bring something to distract your mind. Bring a book, a game, music, or even a few snacks, and schedule your planned time to be there so you don’t feel like you’re in a rush.

Keeping your mind busy will make the time feel like it’s actually going by quicker instead of that stagnant ticking clock you think of from every highschool movie. Know yourself and how to prevent boredom so you can manipulate your own mind.

Go to Your Happy Place

Part of the advantages that online services offer is scheduling appointments. When you schedule your DMV appointment try scheduling it the day as something else that you enjoy like a date, nail, or barber appointment. 

Planning an activity you enjoy with one you stress about makes the activity you’re looking forward to less seem more enjoyable.

Practice the Golden Rule

Don’t be an energy sucker. Most of the time, the DMV will be the dullest place you go, so bring a high, positive energy. If you don’t like being there for an hour, imagine how the employees feel working all day. 

I cannot stress enough how far smiling and asking someone how their day is going helps brighten spirits. You could even end up having a little fun with whoever is there, making the overall experience feel like less of a chore. 

 DMV Visits are Inevitable

How to Cut Down Your Time at the DMV from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

With Covid-19, nobody wants to be in shared spaces with lots of people for even a second. Knowing what’s available online during this pandemic can keep you from making an unnecessary trip to begin with. Being able to drive provides freedom, reliability, and security to motorists that many of us rely on for everyday life. 

Though going to the DMV can be a chore, we shouldn’t take for granted all of the ways that the DMV resources and classes add value and convenience to our lives. The shorter you are able to make these trips, the less you will dread going to the DMV in the future. 

By following these tips you will find that having to go to the DMV doesn’t have to be as dreadful as we all make it seem, and you might even start looking forward to what was once put off and feared. 

danielle beck

Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, Danielle has been a driver since the age of 16, and like most, dreads DMV visits. She uses these tips for waiting at the DMV and hasn’t had a bad visit since.

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