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How to Be a Safe Driver in Big Cities

If you’ve gone through the COVID-19 vaccination process, that might mean you’re once again ready to travel. If a big city is on your radar, rather than using public transportation, you might be considering driving or renting a car once you get there. 

Driving in a big city can present a slew of challenges you might not face if you’re in your hometown or city, and it can be a very different experience. 

The following are some of the key things to remember and know when it comes to driving in a city environment. 

Be Mindful of Pedestrians

There are plenty of places where you might drive, and it would be rare to see a pedestrian on the roadways. Big cities are not those places. 

It’s so important to watch for people walking and even riding bikes and follow pedestrian safety precautions. 

A few things to remember when you’re sharing the road with pedestrians, in a big city or otherwise, include:

  • You should always take on a sense of shared responsibility for the safety of pedestrians. It’s not just up to them to do so. 
  • Distracted driving is always dangerous, in a big city or anywhere else. If you’re driving while distracted, you’re putting everyone around you at risk, including pedestrians. 
  • Be especially watchful in areas where pedestrians are most likely to be. 
  • If there are children around, realize that they can and often do unexpected things, like running into the road. 
  • Be aware that pedestrians can be at a crosswalk when you’re turning. A crosswalk is far more common in a big city than it would be in a suburban area. Pedestrians always have the right of way at a crosswalk. 
  • When you’re stopped at a traffic light, be aware that pedestrians may have a walk signal, so they might be rushing across the street. A pedestrian can be slower than the walk signal or might try to cross without the walk signal, so don’t drive around them and look both ways for pedestrians before you drive, even after the light turns green. 

Parking

In towns and more suburban areas, parking is probably not even something you think about, because it’s widely available. 

In a big city, that’s not the case. Parking is hard to come by, and even if you find it, there are things to be aware of. 

If you find a parking garage, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. If someone approaches you, make loud noises if possible and try to get out of the situation. 

If you’re looking for street parking, you may have to sacrifice convenience. If you’re going somewhere that’s on a busy street, for example, you’re probably not going to find a spot. You might instead look on side streets. 

Parking assist technology can be incredibly helpful in a big city environment, which is something to think about if you’re renting a car. 

There are apps that can also help you with parking in a big city. Some apps will even pay public meters near you. 

When you’re pulling out of a parking spot in a big city, you want to check your surroundings carefully. 

Avoid Rush Hour

You might not worry so much about avoiding rush hour where you live, but in a big city, it’s a must. Usually, rush hour traffic occurs between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and then 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

When you’re driving in rush hour traffic, it’s going to take you longer to get to your destination, and you’re also more likely to be in an accident. 

Have Someone With You When Possible

If you’re going to be driving in a big city, try to have someone as your passenger in the front seat if you can. 

This will give you an extra set of eyes, and they can do things like helping you with directions. Two sets of eyes can go a long way to help you stay safe. 

Get to Know the Driving Laws Before You Travel

Different states and cities are going to have varying laws. If you’re going to New York City, for example, you can’t turn right on red unless it’s otherwise posted. The city’s speed limit is also 30 miles an hour. 

Be Patient with Taxis and Buses

Finally, don’t challenge a bus. They move slowly, and they block your vision so you can’t see up ahead. If you’re behind a bus, just be patient and stay there, or wait until you’re completely sure it’s safe to pass. 

As far as taxi drivers, they have no roadway fear. They’ll stop suddenly, honk and weave in traffic. Just try to avoid them as much as you can, and when you can’t, watch them closely so you can anticipate what they might do next.


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