The Essential Guide to Safer City Driving

May 5th, 2016 by

driveDriving on busy urban streets and roadways is enough to cause even the most seasoned drivers to grip the steering wheel a bit tighter. Unexpected closures, jammed side streets, and construction areas complicate an already challenging driving experience. Not only are you likely to be dealing with other passenger vehicles, but you’re also driving close to buses, delivery trucks, taxis, bicyclists, and pedestrians. To help alleviate some of the stress that comes with driving in the big cities, take a look at this essential guide for safer urban driving.

Avoid Distractions

If you’re trying to scarf down lunch or reply to a text message, you’re distracted. That increases the chances of being involved in a crash. Don’t do any activity that pulls your attention away from the road. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you can “quickly” check something on your phone or select a new song on your in-vehicle entertainment system.

Think Safe Speed and Extra Space

City streets and expressways are notorious places for crashes because lanes of traffic can come to a sudden stop. Drivers who are going too fast don’t have enough time and space to brake, which creates conditions that could lead to a rear-end collision.

To reduce the likelihood that you’ll be caught off guard when traffic unexpectedly stops, keep your speed slightly below the flow of traffic. Leave at least three seconds of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. If another car cuts in front of you, simply slow down to recreate the space you need to maintain a safe following distance.

Know Your Route

Take advantage of on-board navigation systems such as OnStar or your phone’s integrated navigation tools. Doing so will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and stay alert for audio cues that tell you when to turn. If you take a wrong turn or have to alter your route, many navigation apps and programs recalibrate to automatically suggest a new route. Relying on this kind of technology means you won’t be checking your phone or a paper map constantly. Another option is to familiarize yourself with the route ahead of time and know it well enough that you don’t have to reference a digital or paper map along the way.

Stay in Your Lane

While it might be tempting to change lanes in hopes of saving yourself a few minutes, resist the temptation. This kind of driving makes it much more likely you’ll be involved in a crash, and it will save you very little time overall. Leave the lane-weaving maneuvers to taxi drivers.

Achieve a Good Sense of Your Vehicle’s Dimensions

If you have a realistic sense of your car width, you’re less likely to sideswipe vehicles that are parked along the street or a delivery truck temporarily stopped in the right lane. Having a good feel for your car’s size also helps you park in tight urban spaces and garages.

By planning your route, making as few maneuvers as possible, and avoiding distractions, you can have a safer urban driving experience.


Image via Pixabay

Posted in Safety Tips