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Published on April 12th, 2018 | by Jones

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The responsibilities that come with having a car

Congratulations, you’re taking your first big step in the adult world of independence and responsibility. Having your own car means you have the freedom to take yourself wherever you want to be, whenever you want to go. But it’s not quite so simple. When you get your car keys for the first time and remove the big red bow, you undertake the role of a responsible driver out on the road and carer of your vehicle.

Here are a few of the responsibilities you can start looking forward to.

Responsible driving

The most important responsibility of all is that of being a responsible driver. Something that requires sacrifices and tests your accountability. You don’t want to endanger any lives or be held accountable for any injuries, so it’s in everyone’s best interest that you practice responsible driving.

  • Designated driver: Yes, you have a car and can go out and have a good time with your friends. But if you’re driving, you are the designated driver and become responsible for all your passengers. Drinking and driving is illegal and a leading cause of accidents in the country. If you are the DD, no drinking. End of story.
  • Fatigue: There will be times when you’re stuck in traffic at the end of a long day or in the early morning and you will be tired. The responsible thing to do in these circumstances is to find a safe place to pull over. Then you can take a quick power nap or call someone to come and fetch you. Driving when you are fatigued can easily cause accidents and is an extremely dangerous state to be driving in. If you feel like you’re starting to doze while driving, first try opening the windows for rushing fresh air and pumping up the music. If that doesn’t work, then pull over.
  • Cellphone: The only time it is okay to use your cellphone when you’re driving is if it’s an incoming call through the Bluetooth system or if you’ve pulled over to the side of the road and put your hazard lights on. Under no other circumstances may you call, text, voicenote or pick up your cellphone when you’re driving.
  • Licence: You are responsible for remembering to have your driver’s licence on you whenever you get behind the steering wheel. Even if you’re just popping over to the store down the road. There’s a hefty fine to be paid if you’re pulled over and don’t have your licence on you.

It all comes down to simply following the rules of the road.

Licence disc obligations

That little sticker in the bottom left corner of your windscreen (stuck on by a colourful sticker of sorts) is your licence disc. And once you have a car, you’ll need to renew that licence disc every year. Failing to do so warrants a fine you don’t want to have to pay for. It’s a small responsibility, but those are the ones that tend to be forgotten about, until you park your car on the street, run an errand and come back to find a handwritten fine stuck to your window.  

Keeping it clean

You’re about to find out how easily cars get dirty on the inside and out. The occasional “toss it in the side of the car” rubbish piles up quickly and dirt tracks onto your carpets every time you get in and out of the car. Then there are the window smudges, bird droppings, tyre rims, water bottles (somehow there are always water bottles in the car) and plain old dust.

Your car means it’s your responsibility (whether you choose to clean it yourself or pay for a valet service to do it for you). Keeping your car clean is something you need to do, especially if you are part of a lift club and have innocent people in your car every other day. Give it a good clean at least once a month and soon keeping it clean will become a habit.

Doing the garage checks

Trips to the garage to fill up with petrol is another of your responsibilities and while you’re there, make sure you do the garage checks. Oil, water and tyre pressure. These are kind of important aspects to keep at optimum levels to keep your car running smoothly and preventing permanent damage.

It’s an extra five minutes at the garage you can afford. If you’re only filling up two or three times a month, then ask them to check it every time. But if your trips to the garage are more often, you only need to check them every second time (in that case, you’ll likely be driving your car more often which will require more frequent checks).

Send it in for servicing

Then, when you start hearing funny noises, feel your car is operating strangely compared to normal or reach the mileage milestone that requires a check-up, you need to send it in for servicing. That means you are responsible for heading to the car dealership or auto-mechanic nice and early to book your car in, arranging transport from there and picking up your car at the end of the day when it’s done.

Don’t ignore your car’s warning signs and have the problem persist. You’ll only be causing more damage and in regards to set check-ups, you need to go as soon as your car reaches the “every 15 000 kilometres” point. If you own a pre-owned car, there will already be a service history for you to follow. And if you plan on reselling this car at a later stage, documenting these service checks is important.

Having a car is freeing and fun, but it also requires responsibility. Make sure you stick to the rules and take care of the vehicle.

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A keen writer, giving advice about work and life.



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