Tips for city driving
Posted by: Cal on 13/05/2014
Driving in the city requires its own set of skills, particularly if you have grown up learning to drive on rural roads. However even those born and raised in the city could likely use a few tips on how to tackle the roads!
Here are some handy hints on how to drive with skill on those busy city streets.
Learn what to expect
Whether you're familiar with city streets or not, it's important to realise and predict the kind of conditions you're going to encounter.
Yes, you can expect plenty of congestion, limited parking and impatient drivers to boot. Be aware that this is what you'll be dealing with and drive accordingly - courteously, but on high alert for any hazards.
It helps to know your route well if you need to drive during peak traffic, as changing lanes can be difficult and cause stress. If you're not exactly sure of where you're going, look it up on a map beforehand and familiarise yourself. It might make all the difference.
Do avoid during 'rush hour' if possible - but if you simply must, plan ahead and leave plenty of time to get to your destination.
When you plan to drive, make sure you're always well-rested and alert and not suffering from fatigue that could make your reaction times slower.
Always look ahead
City streets can be full of road signs, markings, construction zones, one-ways and changing speed limits, so you'll need to keep an eye out at all times.
Ensure you're looking ahead to identify these circumstances well before they're right in front of you.
In addition to this, city streets can be busy with plenty of pedestrians making a dash for the other side of the road, so always remain aware of this.
If you're making a turn or a lane change, be sure to indicate well in advance of the fact. Don't just rely on your mirrors to see if there are any other cars, cyclists or other road-users - look over your shoulder to be extra sure, so you don't miss your blind spot.
Maintain plenty of alertness at intersections in particular. During heavy traffic, these can be rife with frustrated drivers trying to make a move and hurry through without following the rules or playing it safe. Look around you and take it slow, only moving when you feel comfortable doing so. Don't worry about those behind you waiting! Everyone will get their turn.
Ditch the road rage
When somebody else makes a mistake on the road, it can be easy to get angry. In the busy city, however, it's natural that minor errors of judgement happen, so don't hold it against the driver - let it go! It will save you stress and can help prevent a situation from snowballing into aggression or accidents.
Relax and give people the benefit of the doubt. City roads can undoubtedly be stressful and frustrating, but if you make allowances for those little mistakes, hopefully others will do the same to you.
Drive a safe vehicle
Make sure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Follow the standard precautions, such as driving with the right kind of tyres for your vehicle and keeping them well-maintained. Check your tyres for signs of wear and tear regularly and make sure your vehicle is serviced as often as your state's law dictates.
In addition to this, always check off the basics by wearing your seatbelt, following the speed limit and making sure essentials such as your headlights and tail lights are working.
With a bit of practice, you'll get the hang of city driving in no time.