Top 5 Techniques to Effectively Sharing Your Family Car
Although everyone in the family would like to have their own car, it’s a fact that most families share one. It’s vitally important that each and every driver in the family knows what is expected of them with regards to using the vehicle, and when it is their turn to use it. Having some basic ground rules and protecting all drivers with car insurance is critical. In fact, full-comprehensive car insurance does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Many proud parents search for cheap car insurance that provides the best coverage available as this will ensure that should trouble arise, you are supported every step of the way.
- Sit down and talk about calendars. Chances are good that the individuals in your family using the car either go to school, work or have some other obligation during the day. Working around everyone’s schedule might be tricky, but it can be done. Familiarize your family with apps such as Cozi, OurHome, Family Wall, TimeTree or Google Calendar so everyone is aware of what everyone else is doing. Plus, notifications can be sent to all participants when new events are added, allowing communication to be crystal clear and transparent.
- Decide ahead of time who is responsible for what.
- Nobody likes to start their car and see the gas tank needle settle on E. If allowed to happen, it will create havoc and hard feelings for everyone involved. Agree ahead of time the circumstances surrounding every vehicle “shift” that is taken. Each driver should cover the gas that they use by refueling.
- At some point, something will go wrong with the car. Who then, is responsible for getting it fixed? In an ideal world, all of the family drivers would be equally responsible, but Mom and Dad may want to bear the brunt of the cost, with a smaller portion expected of the kids.
- Vehicle maintenance is necessary so the vehicle performs smoothly. Schedule all maintenance on the Google calendar (or whatever calendar you are using). Teen drivers should be fully aware of what’s in store for them when they own their own vehicle, so consider having them take the car for its oil change, while you pay for it as a good balance.
- What happens if one driver gets a ticket? This may depend on the type of ticket it is – a speeding ticket might result in loss of driving privileges in addition to paying for the ticket itself. If the ticket is maintenance or documents related (like an uninspected vehicle), then everyone might share in the blame.
- Be prepared for transportation changes. Emergency’s happen, it’s just how life is, so be prepared with an alternative plan for family members to get to where they need to be by opening a family Uber or other driver service membership. Also consider asking other family members and friends to be available during situations when plans inevitably change.
- Double and triple up on outings. If one family member is visiting a friend who lives nearby the grocery store, it makes sense to ask them to use their time with the vehicle to stop for whatever is needed from the market. This will not only save time but also fuel and wear and tear on the vehicle. This strategy can be used for all necessary outings like picking up dry cleaning, returning items, vehicle maintenance checks, etc. When the possibility exists to save time, effort, and money – take it.
- Manage everyone’s expectations. When two or more people share a car, there are bound to be times when things don’t work out for someone. The teen (or parent) might not be able to have their fun night out because someone else has the car during that time. This forces family members to not only manage their expectations with planning future events, but also get creative. Can day/times be adjusted? Can one person drop another off at their destination, even if it is out of their way? Opening lines of communication, being as clear as possible with one another, and making plans well ahead of time can help alleviate last minute disappointments.
Sharing a family car means putting your own needs on the back burner and taking turns. It is, in essence, a lesson on how life should be lived, making plans, communicating, setting expectations, and being flexible. Help things run smoothly by being certain everyone (teens included) have complete knowledge of current driving laws, know exactly what is expected of them, and have researched cheap car insurance to maximize coverage – so everyone can take to the road with complete peace of mind.