If you relocated from a small town to the big city, one of the challenges you might face is the difference in driving. Quiet roads have been traded for busy and crowded highways, and getting to your closest grocery store might require the use of a GPS. Fear not, with a bit of practice and these useful tips, you will be a fearless master of the roadways in no time.
Choose the Right Time
Choose a time of day with less congestion. This will help you get desensitized to being in what may seem like deadly roadways. Once you drive them and learn to recognize the signs and exits, you are more likely to be able to handle them during more heavily trafficked hours, such as rush hours. Brian Kary, MnDOT’s Director of Freeway Operations, states rush hour is generally considered between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you can avoid these times, you are likely to be faced with less congestion, and more flexibility to learn the roadways without the added stress of maneuvering through crowded highways.
Learn the Signs
It is important to recognize that driving in a city is the same as driving anywhere else-a stop sign is a stop sign, traffic lights are traffic lights, turns are turns. That being said, it is important to be aware of exits and merging lanes which you probably did not have driving around in a small town. Having more cars may seem intimidating at first, but if you pay attention to your surroundings and go with the flow of traffic, you will be sure to reach your destination safely.
Do not panic and expect honking from other cars, especially in the learning stages. Do not take the honking personally, but rather use it as a way to help steer you in the right direction before you make a serious driving mistake that could lead to an accident.
According to a spokesman for NHTSA, 95-98% of crashes are caused by human error. This may be due largely to the increase in distracted driving. It is very important to take all safety precautions, and to make sure that your eyes and attention are on the road at all times. Be sure to avoid using cellphones and other handheld devices. Making phone calls from your vehicle can also consume your focus.
If the phone call can wait, prioritize your safety and that of those with you and take the call once you are safely parked. According to the Becker Law Firm, driving while using a cell phone to send a text message can make you 23 times as likely to get into a crash. They go on to say that eating and drinking, grooming, reading maps, and using a navigation system while trying to drive can also greatly increase the risk of an accident.
Speeding and Road Rage
When you are unsure how to navigate busy highways just as easily as the more seasoned drivers, you may be faced with frustrated fellow drivers. This frustration and stress can easily lead to road rage. Slow drivers, drivers who tailgate, those who accidentally cut someone off, and drivers who lack politeness- among other factors- can trigger this response from others who are sharing the road. Be sure to stay calm and avoid anger on the road by not taking other driver’s reactions personally. Do not make obscene gestures and try to use your horn sparingly and only when necessary. Try to avoid eye contact with an already agitated driver. Don’t be tempted to fight or compete, and if you are confronted by another driver, contact law enforcement if you feel threatened.
Before that big adventure, make sure you are driving in style. If you are looking for a new or used car, be sure to check out the Auto Buying Service offered at OpenRoad Lending. There you can shop new and used car pricing in your area and find that car or truck of your dreams before hitting the highway.
Driving in the city may seem intimidating, but as with all things, practice makes perfect. Getting over your initial hesitation of driving in more congested urban areas is the first step towards being able to get to your destination. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you get there safely.