Little-Known Secrets of The DMV

by sem on April 25, 2013

Texas DMV

When you think of the DMV, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Is it the long lines, or the herd of frustrated customers? Maybe it’s Patty and Selma, Homer’s sisters-in-law from The Simpsons?

Any way you look at it, interactions with the DMV tend to range from tedious to excruciating. So for your benefit, we’ve culled 4 ways to make your DMV experience faster, more efficient, safer, and generally more pleasurable.

1.  Save Time with Online Appointments

The first—and the worst—thing most people think of are those horrible, horrible lines. We figure the best way to cut out the wait is to bypass those lines entirely. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), some locations offer online appointments for many DMV-related tasks—including driving tests! However, because this is not offered in all locations, the DPS urges you to contact your local branch to verify. It’s certainly worth a call to check. After all, would you rather spend the afternoon in line, or renew your license from the comforts of your own home?

2. What’s the Best Time to Go?

Of course, the length of the line depends greatly upon when you go. In general, the best times to visit the DMV are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, preferably in the middle of the month. Conversely, the lunch hour itself tends to be the longest, and the first and last days of the month tend to see an increase in traffic. The days surrounding holidays are notoriously busy as well, so plan accordingly!

3. Driver Test—Practice Makes Perfect

Taking your driver’s exam can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you’re already frazzled from waiting in the lines, being put on the spot can throw your concentration enough to cause you to fail. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening. If you’re nervous about passing your driver’s license test, one of the best ways to ensure success is by enrolling in a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved driving safety course. The TEA is an organization that governs educational course criteria, so its approval ensures you’re signing up for a quality online driving safety course. If you’re well prepared, you’ll be able to relax and breeze through the test like a pro.

4. Beware of Flooded Cars

As with most bureaucracies, the DMV has its share of loopholes that people exploit. For example: in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, several car dealerships were heavily flooded. Once the cars were drained and dried, they were sold as “used,” rather than new. Due to a loophole in the DMV, this was perfectly legal, and some people who bought these “flooded” cars soon found they were damaged—in some cases, the engines exploded!

The best way to protect yourself against this specific example is to have a trustworthy mechanic thoroughly check out any vehicle you’re thinking about buying. But the general lesson here is to understand that loopholes like this exist, and just because it’s a government agency does not mean that you’re 100% protected from unscrupulous behavior.

Understanding how the DMV operates can be tricky, but these little-known tips can make them easier to deal with. Not only can you save time and money, but you can stay safe, too.

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