Dos and Don’ts for Driving in the City
If you’re used to commuting through suburbia or small towns, traffic can be far and few between. However, driving in the city is a whole different beast. If you decide to make a road trip to a larger city, people’s driving habits and the rules of the road can be a bit different. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of driving in a big city.
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- Watch for pedestrians. If you’re driving through downtown Chicago, or any other large city, pedestrians are everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled at all times for crosswalks, people trying to get in their street-parked vehicles, and other pedestrians.
- Share the road. Larger cities are often full of bicyclists as well. Remember that they, too, belong on the road. Be conscious and courteous and share the road with cyclists.
- Pay attention. If the light turns green in the city and you don’t go, you’ll probably experience instant road rage from the person behind you. Stay attentive at all times and pay attention to everything going on around you.
- Keep quarters in your car. In most cities, parking on the street requires paying the meter. Make sure you have a roll of quarters in your glove compartment so you’ll never be without a parking space.
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- Drive during rush hour. If at all possible, avoid rush-hour traffic in big cities. While the evening hours may just mean highway congestion back home, cities during rush hour are full of bumper-to-bumper traffic, aggressive drivers, and stress, stress, stress.
- Panic. If you miss your turn, it can be instinctual to panic and try to cut over as soon as possible. Avoid this. With intensely congested traffic, you’re better off staying calm and continuing on your current path. Once you’re in the clear, find a place to turn around.
- Drive aimlessly. For seasoned city drivers, there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind someone who doesn’t know where they’re going. Try not to drive around sightseeing. Plan your route and follow it; this will help traffic flow smoothly.
Driving in the city can be stressful, but staying calm and planning ahead will help you handle anything the road throws your way.