Top Safety Tips For Driving In Big Cities

The driver waits in a big traffic jam in the car

Driving in a densely populated, big city is not at all like driving out in the countryside, by the beach, or on the freeway. It’s a lot slower, a lot more jam-packed, and also not as fun.

City drivers regularly have to contend with traffic jams, traffic that is essentially bumper to bumper, and cyclists and pedestrians repeatedly crossing streets. It’s easy to see how city driving can be a challenge, not to mention potentially more dangerous. After all, city drivers do pay more in car insurance.

But still, millions of Americans drive in major cities each and every day, so there’s no reason why you can’t do it as well. Maybe you’re going to be passing through a major city on your next road trip, or maybe you’re going to be moving to a big city instead. Regardless, you should find the following information useful.

Here are the top safety tips for driving in big cities:

Be Strategic About Your Type of Car

First and foremost, you need to be smart about the car you choose to drive in the major city. Do you really want to drive a big pickup truck or long SUV in the city? You can if you want, and many people indeed do, but if it’s your first time you’ll be much better served by a more compact vehicle that’s more easy to maneuver.

This means that driving smaller sedans or compact SUVs, such as a Honda Civic or Ford Escape sized vehicles, would be preferable to driving a big Dodge Ram truck or Chevrolet Suburban. A smaller vehicle will be much easier to drive and reduce the odds of enduring dings and scratches. 

Plan Out Your Route

This is a basic driving rule that you’ll want to follow no matter what, but you really should plan out your entire route when headed through a big city rather than try to figure things out as you go along.

Yes, you can follow the signs if you want, but you’ll save time if you just plan out your route from Point A to Point B and stick to it on your GPS. This will reduce your odds of making an incorrect turn, missing your exit, and so on.

Also, since traffic can be bad in the city, take that into account when you plan to leave. You would be wise to give yourself an extra thirty minutes than usual when driving through a big city to account for traffic jams and other delays.

Coast As Much As Possible 

If you accelerate when the light turns green only to suddenly slam the breaks when you turn, you’re only putting more wear and tear on the vehicle and throwing the driver behind you off.

Instead, coast as long as you can on the road in the city by only lightly applying force to the accelerator. You’ll also put less wear and tear on your vehicle and get better gas mileage while you’re at it, so it’s a win-win situation.

Stick To One Lane

Frequently changing lanes downtown will slow you down, will slow traffic in general down, and increase the odds of a collision. Stick to only one lane for as long as possible, and only switch when it is absolutely necessary (even if it means that your lane has more cars and will be slower).

Be Alert

Of course, you’ll need to be extra alert when driving in a big city. The big thing you will need to be the most on the watch for are cyclists, who have the same legal right to use the road as you do.

You need to be patient and give them plenty of room. Also, be alert in regards to pedestrians; modern day cars are very quiet, and they may not hear you incoming when crossing the road.

Driving Safely In Big Cities

While you may initially feel uncomfortable with city driving, especially if you’ve never done it before or if your experience is limited, it may indeed feel significantly stressful.

But the truth is that city driving will not be as scary as you may think, and you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Sure, you’ll have to learn how to deal with bumper to bumper traffic, difficult parking situations, waiting for pedestrians, and so on, but once you reach a certain experience level you’ll just get into the flow of it as you did with countryside driving before.

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