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City Driving Tips that Won't Leave Your Knuckles White

May 9, 2019 1:28:00 PM / by Wes

Don't let city driving leave you shaking in your boots.

City living isn’t for everyone, and I understand that. For those that do set up shop in the country or even the suburbs,  the thought of driving to the city can be daunting. What I do want is for you to keep an open mind and use my suggestions so you don’t leave with a bad taste in your mouth.

Driving in the city

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Heed these helpful driving tips when you enter city limits.

At some point, whether it’s for a family vacation, work-related event or a night out with your friends, you’ll end up in the city. As such, there are going to be some issues you’ll run into. Cities are big no matter which state you call home. Heck, even Des Moines, Iowa, which was listed as the 100th biggest city in the United States, had a whopping 214,778 citizens in 2017 alone. That number has most definitely increased over the last two years. The top five most populous cities are as follows:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Houston
  5. Phoenix

Traffic jam

Driving is a whole different ballgame in the cities. But with these city driving tips, your experience should be a smooth one:

  • 1st tip: traffic jams are the norm. There are a lot of people that live and visit the city. That means an abundance of vehicles and, along with it, traffic jams. There’s no way to escape traffic when visiting the city. If possible, avoid driving in rush hour which is at its peak between 7:00 a.m - 9:00 a.m., and 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • 2nd tip: watch out for crosswalks. Pedestrians always have the right of way on a crosswalk. And when it comes to maneuvering throughout any city, you’re going to be seeing and avoiding a lot of pedestrians. Not to mention, you’ll be given a hefty ticket if you fail to yield for pedestrians and police make their presence known in the city. Be smart and, most importantly, kind.
  • 3rd tip: stay in the right-hand lane. As you learned in driver’s education, the right lane is reserved for more cautious and slower vehicles. Since you’re not used to city driving, this is the perfect place for you to be. Deviating from what you’re comfort zone will amp up your nerves and increase the chances of an accident. Let them honk if you’re going too slow, this is about you, not them.
  • 4th tip: Keep an eye out for taxis. Not every city you visit will have taxis, but you’ll see them more often than not. “Cabbies”, as they’re called, are known for their not-so-kind driving skills. Don’t fret, they all know where they’re going and are just trying to get there in a hurry. All you need to do is be aware of when and where they stop and let them do their thing.
  • 5th tip: stay calm and relax. It’s easy to get flustered when you’re driving in the city. There’s so much going on around you that it’s easy to get stressed. Stay in control; take your time and pay attention. If you have a passenger use them as a friendly navigator.
  • 6th tip: use cars that are gas-friendly. The city can become congested real quick. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is to be expected, and with that, low gas mileage. If you don’t own a gas-friendly vehicle, I’d suggest renting the best gas mileage car you can find. Because they’re smaller, rates will typically be cheaper and you won’t have to wonder how to get better gas mileage.

Driving in and around the city can be a hassle and take you way out of your comfort zone. But, with these helpful tips and some confidence, you can become the master of the metropolis in no time. Don’t let the big city scare you; there’s always fun to be had and exciting things to see. Just be sure to keep yourself alert and composed; the rest is easy.

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Topics: Articles, The Pit Stop, Cars, Trucks


Written by Wes

As a veteran motorcycle rider and garage gearhead, I'm no spring chicken. I'm here to give tips for beginner motorcycle riders and car enthusiasts, and teach the ways of the road.

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