Trips to the Department of Motor Vehicles are regarded by most drivers with the same enthusiasm they have for a visit to the dentist. The endless lines and the long waits for service at the DMV can be daunting for even the most patient individuals. Here are some tips for making your visit as quick and painless as possible.
The best way to save time when dealing with the DMV may be to find another place where you can conduct your business. In some states, AAA members can visit AAA offices to register their cars, apply for duplicate titles, order personalized license plates and conduct similar transactions. In other states, third-party companies can handle many of the routine details of registering a car.
Some states have dramatically reduced the wait times at their DMV offices by offering some services online. Maryland actually requires vehicle owners to renew their registrations online, by mail, by telephone or at a service kiosk; the state, according to its website, has discontinued walk-in renewals at Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) offices. Maryland residents also can go online to apply for a driver's license, request copies of driving records or schedule a driving test. If Marylanders must go into an MVA office, they can check the department's website for wait times at various branches.
California offers similar online services, self-serve kiosks and even smartphone apps for some DMV services. The California DMV allows residents who must make an in-person visit to schedule an appointment for services like applying for, renewing or replacing a driver's license, or registering a vehicle or boat.
If you have to brave the lines of the DMV, you can speed up your own trip by making sure that you have all the necessary paperwork in hand, according to Edmunds.com. Teens applying for a learner's permit can check their state's DMV website to double-check which documents they need to bring with them. People who are dealing with the sale of a vehicle and the transfer of ownership should be sure they have all loans paid off and a release signature on the loan documents. Check the state's DMV website for details on how -- and when -- to date the title documents.
You also can time your visit to the DMV to avoid crowds. The Oregon DMV says you'll have the shortest waits if you visit before noon in the middle of the week and during the middle of the month. If you don't like long lines, avoid lunchtime, the beginning and end of the week, the first or last week of a month and the days before or after a holiday.
No matter when you visit, Edmunds.com recommends patience and a positive attitude. If you were a DMV employee, who would you be more willing to help: a visitor who was obviously irate and took that irritation out on you, or one who was polite and courteous despite the wait?