New York has a bit of an undeserved reputation, as far as United States roadways go: people across the whole of the U.S. have a false idea of New York as a chaotic hellscape where drivers fight to survive every moment they’re on the road.
However, the streets of New York are no more dangerous than the streets of any other thriving metropolis. With the city being so vital to American culture, a popular tourist destination with several national landmarks, a cornerstone of the theater and entertainment industries, and a city that headquarters several major industries, of course the roads will be busier. The New York DMV, having felt compelled to address the topic, even weighs in with common defensive driving suggestions and an exhortation to follow common-sense driving protocols.
Still, the pros and cons of driving a car in New York are still fiercely debated by residents of the city: with that in mind, how much more uncertain is your average tourist? So for the sake of those who are feeling anxious at the thought of driving on New York’s roads, this brief guide to navigating the streets of America’s busiest city should provide readers with all the information necessary to feel safe on New York streets.
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Follow Basic Defensive Driving Guidelines
If you’ve ever driven on a busy city street before, you know that the best way to avoid an accident is to drive defensively, not aggressively. Regardless of what anyone else is doing around you, your primary concern should be how you yourself are driving: how far away you are from the bumper of the vehicle in front of you, how quickly you’re starting and stopping, and if anyone around you is attempting to get into your lane. The latter can be especially frustrating, especially if a vehicle is attempting to make the most out of as little space as possible, bullying its way into your lane: however, should you notice something like this, the best way to stay safe is to ease off and let them in.
Basic defensive driving applies to every roadway, not least of which a busy roadway like most in Manhattan. Keep a weather eye out for anyone driving recklessly, stay in the slow lane, and react to what’s going on around you, and you should be accident-proof.
Avoid Rush Hour
Rush hour is no joke even in cities that are significantly smaller than NYC: as such, choosing to drive to your destination when everyone else is going to be on the road can result in being stuck in a nightmarish situation like the one described above. If you’re looking to hit something on your to-do list and you would be on the road during rush hour, maybe leave your family vehicle or car rental at the hotel and try taking the subway: it might not be less crazy, as plenty of New York’s residents use the subway instead of driving to get to work, but it will likely be less anxiety-inducing. And, as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about trying to find parking at your destination.
Make Sure You’re Up on Your Insurance
While nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario, it’s often better to be prepared for the worst and have nothing happen than for the reverse to occur. As such, before you hit the road for the first time in NYC, make sure you’ve taken the time to browse available market offerings, comparing the costs and benefits associated with different providers.
Different providers offer benefits like roadside assistance for their patrons; if you’re on a policy that isn’t willing to go the extra mile for you, should you get into an accident, you may want to consider switching. Adequate coverage isn’t enough for people looking to make the best out of a bad situation: you have to be with a company that’s willing to go above and beyond to make sure you’re safe and that your losses are recouped in a quick, efficient manner.
While driving in any busy city can be anxiety-inducing, you’ll find that taking the proper precautions and exercising common sense will make your trip to New York City much, much more relaxing. Drive defensively, make sure you’re up to date on your insurance, and avoid rush hour, and your trip to NYC should go off without a hitch, even if you are driving.