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Your Syllabus for Safe College Driving

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Keeping your car on campus? Make sure you consider these helpful tips first.

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Keeping your car on campus? Make sure you consider these helpful tips first.

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This school year, let OnStar and the Guardian app help make college life a little less stressful

From buying books to scheduling classes to packing for the dorm, there’s a lot to do before heading off to college. So it’s easy to forget about another important item to check off the list: preparing your car. For students taking a car to campus, neglecting to consider maintenance and other needs could lead to headaches down the road. No matter how much you prepare ahead of time, unexpected problems may come up, but having OnStar*1a can give you one less thing to worry about. Of course, not every dorm offers parking, but even if you’re not keeping a car on campus, you can still get added peace of mind from having OnStar services through the OnStar Guardian™ app*82 on your phone.

Ensure maintenance is up to date

Whether you’re going to school across town or across state lines, spend some time ahead of the trip to catch up on any outstanding maintenance items. Now is a good time to get the oil changed and check the condition of items like your vehicle’s tires, battery, brakes and lights.

For more assistance with staying on top of maintenance needs, OnStar can help by providing regular updates. Push the blue OnStar button at any time and ask an Advisor to run an On-Demand Diagnostics*21a check on your vehicle. You can also enroll in monthly vehicle diagnostics reports to receive updates on your car’s key operating systems. And with a Connected Services plan,*1b you can use your vehicle mobile app*26 to remotely check the status of your car’s tire pressure (if properly equipped), fuel level and oil life.

Plan for changing climates and road conditions

If your college is far from home, take a look at the seasonal forecast to see how conditions compare. For instance, if you’re going from a warm state to a cold-weather state, prepare your vehicle for winter by checking that your tires have plenty of tread remaining and adding necessities like an ice scraper to the trunk. On the other hand, some Southern states can experience torrential rain and storms in the winter. If that’s where you’re heading, be sure you have fresh windshield wipers and plenty of washer fluid.

Longer journeys can be unpredictable and increase the possibility of emergencies and delays, so having basic emergency supplies on board is crucial. Consider packing snacks and water in the event you’re stranded, as well as a first-aid kit and multitool. In cold climates, consider adding a blanket, a hat and gloves. Check out these additional items you should keep in your car. While you will hopefully never need to use any of these items, you’ll be glad to have them on hand if you run into trouble.

And if you do run into trouble, you can reach specially trained OnStar Advisors 24/7 simply by pushing the red Emergency button. They can help if you need medical assistance or any other kind of help.

Avoid parking headaches

If there’s one thing in short supply on college campuses, it’s parking spaces. Parking in the wrong place without the right permit could earn you a fine — or worse still, your car could be towed. Planning to rely on free street parking? Check local rules first to avoid being ticketed and be prepared to spend time circling the neighborhood to find an open space.

Wherever you end up parking, take precautions to stay safe. That begins with parking in well-lit areas, whether in a lot or on the street. When leaving or returning to your car, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Be sure to lock your car and take the keys, and remove valuables from view so thieves have one less incentive to break in.

Take OnStar wherever you go

Even if you aren’t in a GM vehicle, you can have key OnStar services right on your phone. Download the OnStar Guardian app for Mobile Crash Response*82 and Roadside Assistance*86 in case the unexpected happens while you’re in a friend’s vehicle. You can also contact an OnStar Advisor right from the app if you need help while out on a walk or run. Plus, you can share your location with up to seven friends and family members*84 even when you’re not on campus.

See how the Guardian app helped a college student after he and his friends were in a crash hours away from home.

Know that you’re protected

When you and your car are on campus, you want to know you’re covered. Start by consulting your insurance agent: Can you stay on your parents’ policy or do you need your own? Are there any good student discounts, and would roommates be covered if they borrowed your car?

As an OnStar Member, you also know that wherever you are, you’re never alone. That’s because OnStar Advisors are available 24/7 to help out when the unexpected happens, with services like Roadside Assistance*17 to assist with a flat tire or another problem requiring a tow and Turn-by-Turn Navigation*20 to help you find the bookstore in your new college town easier. With OnStar on your side, and by following these tips, there’s less need to worry about everyday car concerns, giving you more time to focus on campus life.

Download OnStar Guardian today