Top Tips for Safe Driving in New York City
New York City is one of the most famous places on Earth. Even people who have never actually visited New York know exactly what the city looks like thanks to its appearances in so many movies, TV shows, and broadcast media. It’s one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring urban spaces on the face of the planet.
New York City offers countless attractions, from museums and galleries to towering skyscrapers and extraordinary landmarks. With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that tens of millions of people from across the globe visit NYC every year. Many of those visitors rely on the city’s taxis and subways to get around, but others choose to drive.
Driving in the Big Apple is a lot like driving in other big cities, but due to the enormous size and population of NYC, traffic experiences can sometimes get quite intense, and you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time sitting in long lines of traffic, with angry horn honking all around you. Here are some top tips to make the process of driving safely in New York City a little easier.
Be Ready for Non-Stop Traffic
Many cities tend to have a particular ‘rush hour’, during which the roads are particularly busy and traffic is especially intense. Well, in New York, you may start to feel like every single hour of the day is rush hour, and it’s easy to see why one of the many nicknames for this place is ‘The City that Never Sleeps’.
This means that journeys can be unpredictable, and you never really know how long it will take you to get from point A to point B, as the traffic can always surprise you. Be ready to spend long periods of time in lines of traffic and try to remain focused and concentrated to avoid succumbing to driver fatigue.
Watch Out for Pedestrians and Cyclists
NYC is one of the most populous cities in the whole of America, and it also attracts literally tens of millions of tourists per year. This all adds up to making the average New York street immensely busy, with cars and taxis lining the roads and countless pedestrians along the sidewalks. There are also lots of cyclists weaving their way in and out of traffic too.
So, as well as dealing with all the other vehicles, you also need to look out for pedestrians and cyclists around you. Pedestrians, in particular, have a tendency to jaywalk in NYC, so always be ready for someone to step out in front of you and keep an eye on the sidewalks to watch out for anyone who might be getting ready to make a dash from one side of the street to the other.
Know the Local Rules
The rules of the road in New York City might be a little different from what you’re used to in your own home location, so it’s recommended to at least learn the basics before you arrive, as this could help you avoid making a dangerous or costly mistake while driving there. For example, it’s important to note that you’re not allowed to make right turns at red lights in New York City unless there’s a sign specifically stating otherwise.
You should also know other common rules for NYC, like not “blocking the box”, which means staying put at intersections unless you can see a clear path across to the other side. There are also plenty of tolls around the city to be ready for, and you should know that the use of cell phones for texting or talking while driving is illegal. Unnecessary honking is also illegal in New York City, although a lot of people still do it.
Take it Slow
Speeding is never a good idea in any environment, rural or urban, but it’s especially important to avoid breaking the speed limit in New York City, as there are countless people and hazards all around you at almost all times of day and night.
The speed limit throughout much of the city is 25 miles per hour or 15 in school zones, and it’s important to stay below this. It might seem a little slow compared to what you’re used to at home, but it’s a necessary limit to protect the people of the city, as the streets of New York are simply so busy, with cars, bikes, vans, street vendors, pedestrians, and others all using them non-stop.
Driving in NYC isn’t easy. In fact, many people recommend not driving there at all and using the subways and taxis to get around instead, but if you must drive, these tips should help you get off to a safe start.