Heading off to college at an out-of-state school is quintessential sign of independence.
But it can also be a bit of an overwhelming experience, particularly if you’re trying to figure out how you’ll get around.
While your parents may have given you the spare keys to the family car when you lived at home, you might be heading to college without a vehicle. Living out of state, hours and miles away from your parents doesn’t mean you need to be stuck on campus all the time.
If you are lucky enough to have a car of your own, it’s always a good idea to be familiar with your new state. Here are some tips to make traveling a little easier and safer while you’re away at college.
Brush Up On The State’s Road Rules
Even though most states throughout the U.S. have similar road rules, it’s always a good idea to become familiar with the state laws before you head to college, especially if you’re driving (even if it’s the “weird” laws).
Did you know that in Utah, birds supposedly have the right of way on highways? If you’re headed to Hawaii, you may want to remember that it’s illegal to use your hazards when your car is in motion. Most states don’t allow texting and driving, but some allow you to talk on your phone when you’re driving.
While it’s never a good idea to drive while distracted, particularly in an unfamiliar place, you should definitely find out what’s okay and what’s not so you don’t get an expensive and otherwise avoidable fine (your parents probably won’t want to pay for a driving offense).
Always Know Where You’re Going
Traveling in a new state can always be an adventure, but it can also be stressful, scary, and even a little dangerous if you don’t know where you are or how to get to your destination. Map apps are usually helpful, but they don’t always give you accurate results when it comes to traffic jams or road construction.
Online tools, like Florida NavMap, can help you stay up-to-date, wherever you’re going. Whether it’s road construction or an accident on the highway that’s delaying traffic, you can avoid problematic areas and even report an incident to help other drivers out.
Stuck At School Without A Car? You’ve Got Plenty of Options
Ideally, it would be great to have your car at school, right? Believe it or not, there are plus sides to heading to college without a vehicle. Parking can be expensive and finding an open spot anywhere on campus can be nightmarish.
Many college campuses are bike-friendly and encourage students to use alternate transportation to get around. While hopping on your bike may not be the most convenient option every morning as you try to get to your 8 am class on time, many colleges offer free bus passes for students.
Ridesharing is another great option, especially if you’re heading home on the weekends. Not only are you more eco-minded for carpooling but you can make some good friends while sharing a ride. While most ridesharing opportunities are safe, it’s best to share rides with people on your campus and even better if you know them.