5 Tips For City Driving
By Jeff Youngs, August 10, 2012
Driving in a city can be challenging. Depending on the city, the day of the week, and the time of day, a barrage of visual, aural, and tactile information assaults a driver's senses when venturing into the heart of any city, anywhere. To help you tackle the concrete jungle with greater confidence, here are five quick tips for city driving.
- Slow down: Frequently, cities are densely packed with people and cars. You have to be prepared in case other motorists and pedestrians do something completely unexpected. To improve your reaction times, it is best to proceed slowly. Don't impede traffic, of course, but don't race down streets, alleys, or in parking lots. That way, when you encounter a surprise, you can stop faster.
- Watch for pedestrians: In some cities, people don't like to wait for the crosswalk signal to indicate that it is safe to cross the street. When driving in a city, especially when making turns around corners, you need to watch closely for such pedestrians.
- Know where you are going: If your car has a navigation system that can hold a GPS signal among tall buildings; if you have a telematics system, such as OnStar, with turn-by-turn directions; or if your smartphone features a similar type of a service and doesn't lose signal in the city, these are the best ways to get to a specific address. Sometimes it's a good idea to study a map beforehand so that you have a good sense of where you're headed, and how to get there.
- Prepare to pay for parking: Parking in the city is easy, but you need to be prepared to pay a parking meter or for a space in a lot. Free parking is typically non-existent, and driving around looking for it adds unnecessary risk. Find your destination and find the closest parking lot.
- Tap your inner guide: This may sound counterintuitive given the first tip about slowing down, but when you venture into a city, especially a place like Manhattan, you need to find your place among the cab drivers, bus drivers, and delivery truck drivers.