Tips driving in cities

Here are some tips for driving in big cities

If you’re a new driver or just used to driving in a town or smaller city, the thought of navigating in a place with hundreds of thousands of people may seem a little intimidating.

Whether you’re planning a day trip to Toronto or you’re checking out a big U.S. city such as New York or Chicago, read ahead for some helpful tips for driving in a dense, urban area:

Skip rush-hour traffic

If possible, you should avoid driving between 7-9 am in the morning and 4-6 pm in the evening, as this is when the roads will be busiest.

Not only will you be dealing with heavier traffic, but you’ll likely be faced with more aggressive driving, as many motorists are impatient and may make some questionable decisions in order to make it home quickly.

Lookout for pedestrians and cyclists

You’ll quickly realize that pedestrians and cyclists are everywhere if you’re driving through a downtown that’s densely-populated.

Unfortunately, many pedestrians will walk across the street even when the “don’t walk” signal is flashing. While cyclists are supposed to follow the rules of the road like any other vehicle, many do not. As a result, it’s important to act as a defensive driver and not make any assumptions.

Plan for parking

Sure, your destination may only be an hour away, but it could take you an additional 20 minutes on top of that to find a suitable parking spot.

If you have to be somewhere by a certain time, make sure to give yourself an added buffer to find parking.

It should be noted that failing to park in a legal spot could result in your car getting towed which could ruin your entire trip. Even though it may be tedious and somewhat costly to find proper parking, the alternative could end up being much worse.

Watch out for one-ways

Big cities often mean a higher percentage of one-way streets, which can cause confusion if you’re not familiar with the area. Pay attention to signs and surrounding traffic to ensure you don’t accidentally turn the wrong way on a one-way.

Plan ahead

If you know you’ll eventually need to make a right-hand turn, you should attempt to change lanes at least two blocks before your turn. Changing lanes can be very difficult in bumper-to-bumper traffic, so it’s important that you make any necessary adjustments ahead of time.

Watch out for taxis

Many times, taxis will make unpredictable turns and lane changes in order to get their client from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Of course, this can be an issue if you’re driving directly behind them and aren’t prepared.

If you see a taxi in your vicinity, make sure to keep a safe distance and prepare yourself for any sudden movements. This goes for Ubers and Lyfts as well.