- Be realistic about size
If you’re thinking of getting a car for city driving, size definitely matters. It’s almost impossible to drive large cars in urban areas, and can be a nightmare for parking. If you need to drive to the city in a large car, make sure that you park with ample space.
- Opt for automatic instead of manual
Unless you are extremely experienced driving a manual car, do not attempt to drive it on packed city roads. Switching between gears can be challenging, and if you’re not used to the traffic it could put you at risk for a collision.
- Don’t do the stop-and-go
Don’t speed up only to pump the brakes in a few hundred meters. Accelerating and slowing down ruins your gas mileage and could put you at risk for an accident if you speed up too quickly and are unable to brake in time.
- Stay in your lane
Weaving in and out of traffic is dangerous and most likely won’t save you time. When driving on busy city streets, obstacles are everywhere, in every lane. Try to remain patient and calm to avoid reckless driving.
- Use navigational aids
If you’re trying to get to a specific location in the city, use a navigation system. City roads are full of one-way streets and you may find yourself driving in circles if you miss exactly where you’re going. Navigation systems will also let you know where there is parking near your destination, so you don’t have to waste time looking for a place to leave your car.
- Be extra cautious
Driving in the city means you’re sharing the road with automobiles and bikes. Bike lanes and traffic lanes often overlap, and it can be difficult to see where a biker is coming from. Make sure to look out your window before opening your door if you are parking on the street.
- Always look out for pedestrians
In urban areas, pedestrians can come from every direction, and they don’t always obey traffic laws. Be alert and look out for yield signs and crosswalks on busy city streets.
- Install anti-theft precautions in your vehicle
Many parking garages for your vehicle are underground and not well monitored. If you have valuables you have to leave in your automobile, make sure that they are stowed out of sight.
- Turn the music down
Driving downtown is loud, but that doesn’t mean you should crank up the radio to drown it out. Keep your music down and pay attention to things like sirens (you may need to move out of the way for an emergency vehicle) and other cars that are signaling to you.
- Tune out heavy honking
Some drivers downtown honk out of frustration from bumper to bumper traffic, or to prompt you to make a turn that is unsafe. Tune out aggressive drivers and don’t make dangerous turns just so that the person behind you can turn faster. Remember, if you get into a collision because you made an unsafe turn, it won’t be the driver who honked at you that will pay for the damage.
Driving in the city requires you to be a cautious and aware driver. Because of the hectic nature of driving in the city, you’ll often find that your insurance rates are higher if you live in urban areas but there are still discounts that you can receive for driving safely in your city. Check with your insurance provider, or compare your insurance quote to other companies to make sure you’re getting the best price available.