How to Drive in New York City

Driving in NYC

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Tips for Driving in any Major US City

New York City is the quintessential big city. Skyscrapers, subways, buses, masses of people, taxis and cars… lots of cars. Many people in New York City say the best way to get around in the city is to have someone else drive. But taking a look at the number of cars and drivers on the road proves that lots of people don’t feel the same way. If you’re not used to driving in a big city and navigating the perils unique to such a setting, practice eventually makes perfect – but advice is also helpful. Here are some suggestions on how to drive in New York City and major cities in general.

Be aware of pedestrians

Sometimes pedestrians do bizarre and inexplicable things like running into the middle of high speed traffic. Always be on guard for pedestrians. In especially busy cities like New York, pedestrians can appear out of thin air – they’ll walk behind your car, in front of your car, alongside your car… they’re everywhere. And sometimes, they’re really not thinking so you’ll have to be the responsible one. If you’re driving at night, be especially careful since some people crossing the road may be wearing black and thus will be harder to see.

Don’t let other drivers intimidate you

In New York City many drivers are incredibly impatient – they’ll hit the horn as soon as the light turns green. Ignore the horn and take your time. Better to have them honking than an accident on your hands. If someone starts screaming at you from an adjacent car or giving you the middle finger, keep your cool. Responding to road rage never ends well, it just tends to escalate. And if you are tempted to honk back, be aware that in some places it may be illegal to honk. There will be posted signs indicating this if you’re in that kind of area.

Give yourself time to find parking

Some big cities, such as Denver, tend to have excellent parking, but alas New York City is not one of those places. It’s good to give yourself at least 20 minutes to find a parking spot in cities known for a shortage of parking. Always read the signs on the street to make sure you’re allowed to park there. If you have no time to find a spot, resign yourself to forking out a ridiculous amount of money to park in a garage.

Follow the traffic laws, even if people around you aren’t

Make sure to learn about traffic laws in the city you’re visiting since different cities may have different laws. For example, in many cities making a right turn on red is legal, but in New York City it is not.

Try to familiarize yourself with the streets in the city

In New York City, this is easy since all the streets and avenues are numbered. If your city has a large number of one way streets, also try to get to know those. Knowing which streets go what way will help you get to your destination faster.

Trevor Stuart writes for Complete Insurance; a website offering online auto insurance.

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