4 Things You Need to Drive Legally

The number of drivers is increasing in the U.S., making it more important than ever for the general public to take steps to operate their vehicle legally and safely. Nearly 90 percent of adults in the country carry a driver’s license, showing just how much we depend on driving to get around.

But you need more than a valid driver’s license to be able to legally operate a vehicle in this country. As the steps – and the timing – for staying up to date with the laws vary state to state, it’s vital to know what the rules are in your area. This knowledge not only keeps drivers from getting penalized and owing fines, but it protects the quality of cars on the road, as well as the environment as a whole.

Take a look at the top four things nearly every driver will need before getting behind the wheel.

1. Getting a Valid Driver’s License – and Keeping it Up to Date

States generally require people to have a valid and current driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle. Driving without one can have serious consequences that may include paying a hefty fine, being arrested and having the infraction on your record. The requirement for carrying a license has multiple purposes:

  1. It shows you are a licensed driver
  2. Designates which class of vehicles you may legally operate
  3. Allows you to drive in any state and even out of the country
  4. Functions as a form of proper documentation and identification for many purposes
  5. Indicates a sense of personal responsibility
  6. Enables you to drive at some point in the future

In some states, driving without a valid license is considered a misdemeanor. Depending on where you live, that might be punishable by jail, and your car could even be impounded. Your driving privileges may also be suspended.

2. Some States Require Passing Vehicle Safety Inspections

Find out what local requirements exist in your area. Certain states require cars to pass auto safety inspections to show that they are in good condition for safe driving. Find out what regulations are mandated in your area and what steps you need to take to pass the inspection. Your car may be tested to:

  • Ensure driving/operational safety
  • Ensure proper emissions
  • Verify your vehicle identification number(VIN)

3. Passing a Routine Emissions Test for Your Car

Most if not all states require that vehicles pass routine emissions tests to indicate they don’t have problems that could harm  air quality, and therefore the environment. If you have undergone emissions testing then you are aware it is a quick and easy process that assesses your car for pollutant emissions. If your vehicle fails the emissions, it indicates that one of several problems may be at fault:

  • Faulty injectors
  • A problem with the oxygen sensors
  • An issue with something else that affects vehicle emissions

This test may only be required once every two years, and failing it can be a good thing. As a driver, you want to know if something in your car is not functioning properly. A test will generally outline the reason it failed, allowing you to make the necessary changes and schedule another car inspection.

4. Carrying Proper Auto Insurance Coverage

As a general rule, states require every driver to carry proper auto insurance coverage. Driving

without it can cause individuals to face penalties if they are caught and even cause their license to be suspended. Speak to an insurance agent if you are in need of insurance or may need to update your coverage.

Some drivers avoid carrying insurance out of a fear of making the payments. If this is the case, speak to a professional to find out if there is a low-cost alternative that is within your budget. Keep in mind that failing to carry auto insurance might save you money upfront, but it could end up costing you more in the long run and probably isn’t worth the risk.

At Amigo, our agents are ready to help you compare quotes and find the best deal available! They will help you find an excellent insurance plan that covers all your auto needs.

A car driving away.
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