What to Do if You Don’t Have Change for a Toll Booth
Has this ever happened to you? You’re driving somewhere you haven’t been before, following the GPS’s directions on what roads to take. You’ve been on the highway for a while and in the distance, you see a toll booth station. You veer into the lane with the most vehicles in line to buy yourself time to rifle through your glove box and purse for change.
Luckily you find some to pay the toll, but what should you do if you don’t have any money? Here’s what you should do if you don’t have change for a toll booth.
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Don’t have change for a toll booth? This is what you should expect
Transactions are all plastic and digital these days; people rarely carry cash or change on them — let alone exact change for an unexpected toll road. If you didn’t plan ahead and stash some coins in your car for emergencies like these, you might be stuck at a toll booth without a way to pay.
If the toll booth is manned, talk with the attendant. They will let you know what to do, since this is a more common occurrence than you assume. The attendant may offer an alternative way to pay, like via credit card. The could take down your information to send you a bill in the mail or give you the paperwork to fill out and mail in with payment (a Deferred Toll Payment Request Form).
Paper documentation is pretty old-fashioned in this age, and many toll road systems have transitioned to cameras and online systems. Some states allow you to look up pending charges based on your license plate number and plaza number to pay online if you didn’t have money on-hand at the time. Other systems skip the website altogether and send you a bill in the mail based on your license plate information with a fee attached to it.
If the toll booth is not manned and requires you to drop coins into a bucket, a camera will most likely take your license plate information and send you a bill later. If you’re in a rental car, the bill will go to the rental company, which will in turn charge you for the toll on your rental bill.
The procedures for how the attendants deal with the situation vary based on the state and rules of the highway governance, so be prepared for any of these situations if you’re caught without cash.