City driving often takes years to master. Don't be too harsh on yourself if all the different lanes, backed-up roads, and impatient drivers intimidate you. Your driving will get better with practice. In the meantime, these city driving safety tips have your back.
What to Expect When Driving in the City
Driving in the city is worlds different from driving in rural areas. On urban roads, you can expect to come across:
Lots of pedestrians and bikers
Unexpected road closures
7 Tips for Driving Safely in a City
As you can see, driving in the city brings a lot of challenges. Here are seven things you can do to get to your destination safely.
1. Rethink Rush Hour Driving
Avoid driving during rush hour, if possible. Roads are most congested from 7 a.m to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. More vehicles on the road mean you're more likely to get into an accident. But if you really have to hit the road, follow the dos and don'ts of driving in traffic.
2. Avoid All Distractions
City driving demands all your attention, so distracted driving is a big no-no. Be it because of pedestrians jaywalking, cars backing out of parking spaces, or turn-only lanes, your eyes must always be on the road.
Put down your phone, turn down the stereo if you need to, and keep passenger chatter to a minimum. It's estimated that 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in 2020 alone.
3. Watch Out for Pedestrians
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. In 2021, 7,485 pedestrians died in crashes — the highest amount in 40 years.
Protect pedestrians by yielding to them on marked crossings. Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, let them cross safely. Children, especially, tend to ignore marked crossings and walk onto the road wherever, so pay close attention!
4. Always Double Check Blind Spots
You might not see other vehicles and bicycles at intersections because of your blind spots. This is especially dangerous in big cities, where there's more traffic. Before turning, double check that no driver or biker is hiding where you can't see them.
5. Don't Follow Vehicles Too Closely
Driving in the city means braking often. Sometimes because a pedestrian is crossing the road, and other times because a traffic light is turning red. How can you brake without ramming the vehicle in front of you? Easy — by maintaining a three-second safe following distance.
6. Use Navigation Apps
Apps like Google Maps and Waze help you stay on the right path, especially when you're not familiar with the roads. They tell you when and where to turn, so you don't have to frantically read street names. This way, you can focus on the flow of traffic.
7. Stay Calm
When you get stuck in traffic, take a deep breath and just accept you'll get to your destination late. Safety always comes first. The next time, budget more time for your drive because traffic is virtually inevitable.
Take a Shortcut to Becoming a Better Driver
Most people become good drivers the hard way — with lots of experience and some close encounters with dangerous situations. But you can take a shortcut with defensive driving classes. You'll learn what to do when driving in inclement weather, how to deal with aggressive drivers, and so much more. And since you can take classes online at your own pace, becoming a better driver is now easier than ever!