My driver’s license is expiring soon, and I never received a notice from the DMV to renew it. It was the sheerest of luck that I even noticed in time to get it renewed before it expired. I rarely ever look at it. They couldn’t tell me why I never got it, either. They’ve sent me other notifications without a hitch, so they did have my correct address and all that.
It’s your responsibility anyway
This must happen fairly often, because when you put “never got notice to renew license” or a similar phrase into any search engine, you get all sorts of results about what to do in that situation in various states. It may be worse lately, what with states cutting back their DMV budgets and the post office going bankrupt.
But it seems most states regard that notice as a courtesy anyway. You’re supposed to be aware of when your license is expiring, and make sure it gets renewed one way or another before it expires. That’s a tall order when you’re talking about remembering an expiration date that’s several years in the future.
Set a reminder
The solution I’ve come up with is to use an electronic reminder system – one that can hold onto an item for years and notify you reliably when the time comes. Mac users have iCal built into their systems, and PC users may have Outlook’s calendar – or a good free system is Gmail, which can be set to pop up reminders on your desktop or, more reliably in my opinion, email you about upcoming events.
By “electronic reminder system”, what I really mean is a to-do app or program, or a task scheduler. Whatever you want to use, so long as it will actually send you a reminder that you’ll notice.
As soon as my new license arrives, I’m going to take a look at the expiration date and set a reminder on my phone for sixty days before the license will expire. It’s likely I won’t even own this same phone by that time, but I will be sure to transfer everything from that reminder app over to a new phone, because I really rely on this system to keep me organized.
The main thing is to make sure you remember to transfer your reminders if you switch to another system. If you don’t normally use electronic reminders, that may be difficult. You might want to add a few other things that happen at long intervals to your electronic reminder system, so you get in the habit of using it at least periodically:
- Expiration dates for credit cards.
- Expiration dates for passports.
- Reminders to check your medications (over the counter as well as prescription) every few months and throw out any that have expired.
- Reminders about birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If you buy gifts or make elaborate plans for these occasions, set the reminder a few weeks in advance so you have time to buy presents or set up parties or dinner reservations.
- Reminders for booster shots, such as tetanus.