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Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Old Jul 7th 2021, 3:37 pm
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Default Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

I'm moving over to Mississippi in a couple of months to work at Mississippi State University.

I take public transport everywhere in England but it has come to my attention that I will probably need a car in the US (I have a UK driving license)

Does anyone live there and know about driving and buying/leasing cars? Or anyone else in other US states?

I'd love an idea of the general costs or if I can do anything to help before I leave the UK

Thanks
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

You will definitely need a car.
Students who live close to campus may be able to rely on public transport.
Anyone else will struggle.

As for costs, how long is that piece of string? What's your budget, are you ok driving a clunker? Or need a new car?
Leasing or buying on credit will be difficult with no credit history.
There are companies that can help purchasing for an international client, but expensive.

If you have cash, then easy.


Insurance is outrageous as in the UK. Even more so if you're under 25.
Used car prices are way, way more expensive than in the UK.

$10,000 will get you a decent used car, $100 p/m for insurance, $50 p/m for maintenance then gas.
That's about the only thing you will find cheap.

Last edited by excpomea; Jul 7th 2021 at 3:53 pm.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by excpomea View Post
You will definitely need a car.
Students who live close to campus may be able to rely on public transport.
Anyone else will struggle.

As for costs, how long is that piece of string? What's your budget, are you ok driving a clunker? Or need a new car?
Leasing or buying on credit will be difficult with no credit history.
There are companies that can help purchasing for an international client, but expensive.

If you have cash, then easy.


Insurance is outrageous as in the UK. Even more so if you're under 25.
Used car prices are way, way more expensive than in the UK.

$10,000 will get you a decent used car, $100 p/m for insurance, $50 p/m for maintenance then gas.
That's about the only thing you will find cheap.
Thanks that's really helpful and interesting Unfortunately I don't have that kind of cash but I will live quite close to campus at least
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
Thanks that's really helpful and interesting Unfortunately I don't have that kind of cash but I will live quite close to campus at least
People will tell you, you definitely need a car. That is not strictly true. Almost any college or university has housing within walking distance. Supermarkets and convenience stores probably nearby too. Without a car, though, that virtually leaves you stuck in town. I don’t know whether that area is good for cycling.

Many colleges and universities provide regularly scheduled shuttle buses to nearby Walmart’s, malls, shopping centers etc., mostly for students, so that’s useful too.

I worked at a college in a very small, remote town (about 5,000 population, a supermarket and a Chinese buffet but not much else) and I had one colleague who chose to live carless. He was not even a big walker, actually quite an overweight guy. He used the local taxi when necessary. For longer trips, he’d take the Trailways bus (one a day) which connected up with the train 200 miles away. He was able to visit his parents in Albany, periodic visits to hobnob with friends in New York City etc. So it can be done. I imagine between taxi fares and public transport fares he spent about the same as running a car would have cost.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

I just looked up Starkville, MS, it looks like a beautiful college town with all the facilities you’d expect. Looks like there is a decent bus system in the metropolitan area that gets you downtown, to the university, and the airport.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
Thanks that's really helpful and interesting Unfortunately I don't have that kind of cash but I will live quite close to campus at least
I think you can do better than 10k on a used car if you aren't too fussy as to what care it is and can live with a few cosmetic issues. Pick a car that is relatively simple and cheap to maintain, so that the inevitable repairs don't break the bank, and try to find a mechanic who actually fixes things rather than going to a dealer mechanic or big shop where you will pay through the nose both for new parts and for labour.

I've never paid more than 3k USD for a car. It's true that I'm driving a 2001 Volvo, and before that an old Kia (which succumbed to rust, always a hazard in the midwest), and it has some cosmetic issues but nothing drastic and it starts and runs strongly every single time, even in the depths of a midwestern winter. I have a mechanic, and know next to nothing about cars, so I've had him inspect any possible purchase. You will pay much less buying from a private party than from a used car lot, but do be careful about checking the record of the car via the VIN number (usually on a metal plate screwed to the dash, sometimes also on the door well, and engraved somewhere on the engine block) and get a mechanic to look it over if you are not mechanically minded.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 7:13 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
I have a UK driving license
Even so - you'll probably be limited as to how long it will be valid for use in Mississippi.
Take a look at the state's DMV Driver Handbook - and in particular page 17/85 : https://dmv-permit-test.com/mississi...ivers-handbook

"Non-U.S. Citizen License or ID Card
If you are a non-citizen, you must meet all other requirements except for providing a social security number for a driver's license or identification card. The license or ID will be valid for 1 year from date of issuance for a fee of $11.00.
You must present valid immigration papers for originals or renewals, including a birth certificate (translated from a university), Passport, 1-94, Proof of Domicile and Alien Resident Card if you have one."

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Old Jul 7th 2021, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by MMcD View Post
Even so - you'll probably be limited as to how long it will be valid for use in Mississippi.
Take a look at the state's DMV Driver Handbook - and in particular page 17/85 : https://dmv-permit-test.com/mississi...ivers-handbook

"Non-U.S. Citizen License or ID Card
If you are a non-citizen, you must meet all other requirements except for providing a social security number for a driver's license or identification card. The license or ID will be valid for 1 year from date of issuance for a fee of $11.00.
You must present valid immigration papers for originals or renewals, including a birth certificate (translated from a university), Passport, 1-94, Proof of Domicile and Alien Resident Card if you have one."
Yep, should be good for a year.
But, if they are legally working in the States then they should have a SS number and can then take the test.
It's night and day compared to the UK test. You're probably a better driver than the examiner.
15 min written, 5 min drive, an eye exam and you're all set.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by excpomea View Post
Yep, should be good for a year.
But, if they are legally working in the States then they should have a SS number and can then take the test.
It's night and day compared to the UK test. You're probably a better driver than the examiner.
15 min written, 5 min drive, an eye exam and you're all set.
But then there's this:

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS:
Under the laws of Mississippi, if you operate any motor vehicle (except road and farm equipment) on the streets or highways,
you must have a license or instruction permit.
You cannot receive a Mississippi driver's license until you have surrendered to the Department of Public Safety all driver's
licenses in your possession.


I doubt the OP will want to do that.

I think I remember Jersey Girl posted about dealing with this same requirement when she applied for her New Jersey license.
If I remember correctly - she refused - and managed to somehow finagle her way into NOT relinquishing it.
So ...where there's a will
(+ a JG ),
...there's a way !
OP can do a forum search for her post, if interested.

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Old Jul 7th 2021, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by MMcD View Post
But then there's this:

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS:
Under the laws of Mississippi, if you operate any motor vehicle (except road and farm equipment) on the streets or highways,
you must have a license or instruction permit.
You cannot receive a Mississippi driver's license until you have surrendered to the Department of Public Safety all driver's
licenses in your possession.


I doubt the OP will want to do that.

I think I remember Jersey Girl posted about dealing with this same requirement when she applied for her New Jersey license.
If I remember correctly - she refused - and managed to somehow finagle her way into NOT relinquishing it.
So ...where there's a will
(+ a JG ),
...there's a way !
OP can do a forum search for her post, if interested.
Yup I told them my driving license was the property of The Queen.
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Old Jul 7th 2021, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Yup I told them my driving license was the property of The Queen.
Just did, quite literally, LOL at that
You're indefatigable

Meanwhile...OP might also want to look at "OleMiss" web site:
https://international.olemiss.edu/dr...ponsibilities/
Better yet...get a bike !
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Old Jul 8th 2021, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
I just looked up Starkville, MS, it looks like a beautiful college town with all the facilities you’d expect. Looks like there is a decent bus system in the metropolitan area that gets you downtown, to the university, and the airport.
Brilliant, thanks for your replies, yeah Starkville doesn't look too bad at least
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Old Jul 8th 2021, 11:38 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
I think you can do better than 10k on a used car if you aren't too fussy as to what care it is and can live with a few cosmetic issues. Pick a car that is relatively simple and cheap to maintain, so that the inevitable repairs don't break the bank, and try to find a mechanic who actually fixes things rather than going to a dealer mechanic or big shop where you will pay through the nose both for new parts and for labour.

I've never paid more than 3k USD for a car. It's true that I'm driving a 2001 Volvo, and before that an old Kia (which succumbed to rust, always a hazard in the midwest), and it has some cosmetic issues but nothing drastic and it starts and runs strongly every single time, even in the depths of a midwestern winter. I have a mechanic, and know next to nothing about cars, so I've had him inspect any possible purchase. You will pay much less buying from a private party than from a used car lot, but do be careful about checking the record of the car via the VIN number (usually on a metal plate screwed to the dash, sometimes also on the door well, and engraved somewhere on the engine block) and get a mechanic to look it over if you are not mechanically minded.
Thanks this is great, I couldn't care less what the car looks like as long as it works I'll start by scoping out a good mechanic then
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Old Jul 9th 2021, 6:05 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
I'm moving over to Mississippi in a couple of months to work at Mississippi State University.
Congratulations! Are you a postdoc/tenure-track/Distinguished Professor? I came to the US as a postdoc at OK State. I have never been to MS State, but I have a thing or two to say about college towns in the middle of the country.

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
I take public transport everywhere in England but it has come to my attention that I will probably need a car in the US (I have a UK driving license)
Yes, you absolutely need a car, if for no other reason than the weather. It is going to be extremely hot and humid in the summer (and early Fall and late Spring). And the last place you want to be when the tornado sirens go off is sat waiting at a bus stop.

You will also need a car if you want to have any kind of social life. It is unlikely that your colleagues will live anywhere near campus, since housing near campus is usually the grotty, studenty kind. Expect to be invited to houses that can only be accessed by car. Expect people to only be willing to ferry you back and forth for so long. (Expect everyone to drink drive.)

Finally, the big one for me: I needed a car to get to an airport. There was not one single option to get to or from an airport under my own steam. No shuttle bus, no taxis, nothing. I absolutely did not want to be reliant on the good will of others to be able to get away. I don't know if this will be true for you at MS State, but if there are smaller airports nearby, be sure to look up where they fly to and how much it costs; regional airports can involve a major price increase, plus require connections that make scheduling difficult.

Originally Posted by ts1788 View Post
I'd love an idea of the general costs or if I can do anything to help before I leave the UK
I second the notion of spending a few thousand dollars on a used car, especially if your job has a fixed term. I would ask your future colleagues if any international grad students/postdocs are finishing up and selling off a car. This is a good way to pick up a reasonably priced, inexpertly maintained vehicle

I would also look around for an inexpensive rental car for your first few weeks. Trust me, you will have enough to worry about getting set up in a new place and starting teaching; trying to catch inadequate public buses anywhere will just make everything harder and take 5 times as long.

For the record, even though I did have a car in OK, I still walked places when I could. Everyone thought I was MENTAL. And to a certain extent they were right: there were rarely sidewalks and passing cars would honk at me without fail (I guess to alert me to the fact that I was walking...?). Let's just say I never fitted in there

If you have any questions about cars or anything else, just shout
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Old Jul 9th 2021, 10:01 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mississippi - Driving?

College towns are (usually) one of the few places in the USA where you can get by without a car, but, in general, it is a hell of a lot easier to live there with one than without. You'll come to discover while you can find groceries and food within 'walking distance' of your location, the cheaper options and big box stores are often further out of the city centers such that you can save quite a bit of money on day-to-day by driving a few miles.

A rental is a good idea to help you get the feel for the land, though you might want to spend a week or two without a car and see how it goes (note: not the first week--I strongly recommend at least a rental the first week so you can head to the big box stores and buy things like food and table clothes and sheets and whatever else you forgot to bring).

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