To say that driving in built-up, urban environments is stressful is to state the obvious. But there are ways to make the experience slightly less horrendous. Follow these top ten tips for driving in town and get yourself home in one piece faster.
- Expect to be frustrated. It’s unlikely that you’re not going to encounter congestion. Junctions will be blocked, traffic will be moving slowly. You’ll most likely encounter inconsiderate drivers. That’s what makes driving in town such a challenge. But, by preparing yourself for these likely hurdles, you’ll be focusing on staying calm and subsequently your journey will be less of a drag.
- Set a good example. If you’re acting rationally when you’re driving, it’s quite often that other drivers will match your behaviour.
- Be aware of the weather. A sudden change in weather can completely transform the road conditions. Be aware of what the weather has in store before you leave so you can anticipate what it will be like out there. On wet roads, be sure to increase your stopping distance and be vigilant for pedestrians (remember splashing someone is an offense).
- Keep an eye out for cyclists. Motorcyclists too, especially when you’re turning. There’s usually plenty of bikes on the city streets so be aware.
- Buses. You can’t miss buses in the city, so increase your stopping distance if you’re tailing one to allow for any passengers disembarking. If it’s very busy, try and avoid overtaking stationary buses as there may be people crossing in front or behind them.
- Delivery vehicles. These are everywhere in towns and they usually park in inconvenient locations as their drivers are just nipping in somewhere to deliver a parcel (not always legally). You’re best giving them a wide berth. Pay particular attention for scaffolding trucks, builders’ merchant trucks and couriers.
- Plan your trip. Know where you’re going and the route you’re taking to get there.
- Parking. Usually in short supply or non-existent in busy cities. Check the availability of parking before you depart so you know what to expect. Don’t park on double yellow or red lines and avoid the zig-zag lines by pedestrian crossings.
- Be patient at pedestrian crossings. At light-controlled crossings, wait until all pedestrians have cleared it, even if the lights are flashing amber or green.
- Know your road markings. Bus lanes and yellow boxes are closely monitored by cameras – often with operators watching in real time – make sure you don’t enter or block them. Fines are dished out to offenders.
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