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Getting Wheels for the First Time

I guess upon leaving school, the dream of every young Australian is to have their own car.

We should all be aware that having a drivers licence is a privilege, and not a right. It is much more difficult to attain than it was a few years ago, and if we lose that privilege it can have severe impacts upon our lifestyle.

It has been estimated that by the end of this year more than 620,000 Australians will have bought a new car.

If you have a rich dad, or you are a diesel fitter on the mines making big bucks, then you may be one of this group. Naturally you’ll want to carry out a test drive before making your selection, but be aware that the dealer may get you to sign a disclaimer before he lets you go for a burn. Keep in mind the demo belongs to the dealership, but if you are involved in a ding, no matter how minor, then the document you signed makes you legally responsible for the damages to the test vehicle and any third party vehicle involved. Even if the dealer doesn’t get your signature, the law states that the driver of the vehicle, not the owner, is liable in a crash, and also, you may be accountable for insurance excess fees even if it was not your fault.

So it may not be a good idea to hoon down the Pacific Motorway for a couple of hours with your girlfriend! Just drive carefully around the block and decide if you like the car.

If you do decide to buy a brand new vehicle and you haven’t got a rich dad, just remember a few golden rules: shop around the various dealerships and get 2 or 3 quotes, try various financial institutions for the best car loan, stay within your budget as you may be committing to monthly repayments for 4 or 5 years, and keep in mind the other expenses, fuel, repairs and maintenance, tires, insurance and rego.

Perhaps you might be better off looking for a good second hand deal. Weigh up the differences between new and used: cost, depreciation, mechanical worthiness. Assess the risks involved in buying privately rather than from a dealer.

There is legal protection when you purchase from a licenced used car dealer, but old mate down the road may not want to know you if the engine blows up.

Every Australian State and Territory may have differing road rules, however in all of them, misuse of a motor vehicle and lack of responsible driving can have serious consequences.

Australia is a big country, and we all need to drive, but we must take charge of our own actions. Driving offences, including drug and alcohol abuse can lead to court appearances, disqualification and loss of licences, fines, convictions and even jail time in serious cases. This can ultimately lead to job loss, and family friction.

Don’t give your hard earned diesel mechanics wages to a lawyer!

Take your responsibilities on the road seriously. Drive safe.