Whether you live in the city or not, learning to properly maneuver the concrete jungle is a skill worth exploring. City driving comes with many challenges – traffic, pedestrians, parked cars, and narrow streets. To say that it can be frustrating would be an understatement. But don’t worry, I’m here to provide a few tips that will turn that downtown frown upside down.
The best way to handle a difficult driving situation is to plan ahead of time – know your destination, how long it will take, and the best possible route to get there. Take into consideration the time of day you are planning to travel. Rush hour is going to be the busiest time, 7:00am to 9:00am and 4:00pm to 6:00pm -try to avoid these times if at all possible. If not, get ready for a longer commute.
Possibly the most important factor when driving in a big city is keeping your composure. It’s going to be stressful, so don’t get all worked up for nothing – stay calm and ride it out. Don’t constantly change lanes to try and save a few seconds, as chances are you’re not going to get there any quicker and worse you may even cause an accident. A GPS or vehicle navigation may be a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re not familiar with the area.
Like I mentioned earlier, there is A LOT going on in the city – especially in its downtown core. Be aware of your surroundings as there will be people and vehicles all around you. Drive the speed limit, use caution when turning, and watch out for busses, taxis, and cyclists. Cyclists can make your life as a driver difficult, as they can be unpredictable on the road. Even though they are required to follow the rules of the road, they don’t always do. Make sure to come to a complete stop when approaching red lights and wait for people to fully cross the street before advancing.
Consider Your Vehicle
The size of your vehicle will impact your city driving experience. You will notice right away that there tends to be smaller vehicles downtown. Compact cars rule the narrow streets of a city’s core, as they have a much easier time getting around when compared to large SUV or trucks. If you are planning on purchasing a vehicle, and live in or commute through downtown often, you should consider a smaller vehicle option (Nissan Micra, FIAT 500, Ford Fiesta). Not only will this make your daily drive easier, but you will also save money on gas as well– as city driving results in worse fuel mileage.
Pay for Parking
Don’t be surprised when you have to pay for parking. This comes with the territory. Even if you’re only making a quick stop, you will be required to pay for parking. There are various forms of parking downtown – paid meters, parkades, parking lots, angle parking, etc. Some much harder to get in and out of than others. As unfortunate as it is to pay for parking, it’s in your best interest to do so as the the consequences can be a hefty fine or worse, being towed.
Construction anywhere can be a problem. But construction downtown can be an absolute nightmare. The best tip is to honestly just avoid it if possible – driving through downtown is like a funnel to begin with, now imagine that funnel getting clogged. Find out if there is any construction going on the day of your commute, and look for alternative routes to save time.
Like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you drive in the city the easier it will get – after a while you won’t think twice about it. But until then, remember to drive with caution, be aware of your surroundings, and expect delays. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
Considering downsizing into a smaller vehicle? Moving downtown? Looking to save some money on gas? Go Auto has you covered with over 10,000 vehicles currently available, we are certain to have a vehicle that fits your needs. Check out some great commuter options like the Nissan Micra, Kia Soul, Honda Fit, and Mazda 5!