Top Tips for Safe Driving in the City
More and more people are taking city breaks instead of travelling abroad, but for those with little or no experience, driving in a city can be a daunting prospect.
So this month Fourways Self Drive has decided to bring together our Top Tips on Driving Safely in a City.
Avoid the busiest periods
If you have to arrange a meeting, then try to ensure that you avoid the busiest times of day for driving. These are usually between 7am to 9pm, and 4pm to 6pm as most workers start work at 9 and finish at 5 – 5:30pm.
With a larger number of drivers on the road, the risk of collision is increased as everyone is focused on getting to work on time. Avoiding rush hour traffic also ensures that the driver and any passengers arrive safely, on time and with a stress-free mentality.
Don’t drive under pressure
When driving in an unfamiliar environment, it can be a stressful experience, which can be made worse by those who put additional pressure on you by driving too close or too quickly.
Never feel pressured to drive above the speed limit or take unnecessary risks on the road. Just make sure that you’re driving in a safe way, that isn’t going to be putting either yourself or your passengers at risk.
If another driver is acting erratically, then calmly move out of their way – if it’s safe to do so – and continue your journey in peace.
Be aware of your surroundings
This can apply to both the local landscape and other road users. You may be unfamiliar with the local road signs or layout, so if you can see that traffic is slowing, then give yourself enough time to adjust your position should you need to.
The same applies when stopping at traffic lights. Give yourself time to assess the lanes ahead, making sure you give yourself enough time and space to realign if you find yourself in the wrong lane.
You should also be aware of pedestrians that may be in your immediate area. Human nature does lead to a lapse in judgement, so if you think that someone is going to cross the road as you’re approaching a junction, then slow down and if it’s safe, let him or her cross.
Plan your route
Most modern rental vehicles come with in-built SatNavs or mapping systems, but as a driver you shouldn’t rely on these as a substitute for using common sense. The same can be said for smart phone apps that give you route directions whilst you’re driving.
But remember, in larger cities sometimes the buildings can block out the signal, so we’d always recommend preparing the night before and having a look at a map so you at least have a vague idea of where you’re supposed to be driving.
Mind the gap
Everybody knows that you should leave a minimum or 2 seconds – or 2 chevrons – between yourself and the car in front of you, more as your speed increases.
The same rule applies when you’re driving in the city. Drivers are more likely to come to an abrupt halt in the city, as they have to contend with other drivers and also pedestrians. Make sure you watch the distances, and you don’t end up driving into the back of someone should they emergency stop.
On city streets, you can be sure that parking is at a premium. In larger cities, there may be certain restrictions placed on when – and for how long – you can park on side streets and main roads.
If you do have to pull over for any reason, then ensure that it’s safe to do so, and there’s no risk to either yourself or other road users. The best solution would be to find a secure parking location – a multi-story car park for example – and leave your car there for the day.
So there we have it, our Top Tips for Safe Driving in the City. Do you have a lot of experience with urban driving? Do you think we’ve missed anything out?
You might not be driving in a city this weekend; you could be taking a country retreat. If you are, then take a look at our blog post on driving safely on country roads.
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