You can live your whole life in New York City without a car. That’s very appealing to residents because owning a car can be expensive and time consuming! With so many people living in the city, it’s relatively easy to get wherever you need to go when you take the subway, a cab, or an Uber.
However, there are some great reasons to own a car too! You can get to your destination on your own time without relying on the subway schedule, and it’s a good idea if you plan on driving outside the city on a regular basis. Not to mention, it can be a much easier way to get around if you have kids!
No matter why you have decided you need a car in The Big Apple, these tips will help you make the most of owning your own vehicle.
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Cut Out Distractions When You’re Driving
Above any of the other tips on this list, it is paramount that you cut out distractions when you’re behind the wheel. There were still over 100,000 accidents in NYC in 2020 during the pandemic when fewer cars were on the road. In non-pandemic years, that number more than doubles, and many of those accidents are caused by distracted drivers.
Using a phone, whether talking, texting, or browsing social media, is the biggest distraction, but there are others you have to eliminate to be a safer driver. They include:
- Using a navigation system
- Adjusting audio or climate controls
- Eating while driving
- Commotion from other passengers in the car
Be Prepared to Drive at a Snail’s Pace
New York City has always had bad traffic congestion, but in 2020, it took the spot for the most congested city in the United States. Don’t be surprised to spend a lot of your time sitting in traffic. When you are finally able to move forward, you shouldn’t be surprised if your speed hovers around 10 to 15 miles per hour.
It’s not just other cars that will slow you down on New York City roads. You may find yourself stuck behind a cyclist, or you may end up waiting around for a mob of pedestrians to cross the street.
Construction is a huge issue in New York City too. Whether they are updating a building or working on the street, you have to be prepared to crawl along at a snail’s pace or come to a complete stop in construction zones.
Always Have a Parking Plan
Parking is hard to come by, so it’s important to plan ahead. Leave early to give yourself plenty of time to find a place to park, and consider doing a little research ahead of time. That way, you know where parking garages, lots, and on-street parking are available near where you’re going. Rental24h.com is an excellent service that offers the opportunity to rent a car in New York, even if you are below the age of 25.
You also have to be prepared to pay for parking. It can be expensive, especially if you’re storing your car. The trick is to shop around and find a parking garage you can afford, even if it means having to walk or take the subway to get to your car before you can drive it.
Have a Plan for Getting Gas
Getting around New York City in your own vehicle can be frustrating, but waiting in traffic and trying to find a place to park are nothing compared to the frustration that comes with sitting in traffic watching your gas tank hit empty.
It’s important to have a plan for getting gas because there aren’t very many gas stations in and around the city. You may have to drive out of your way to find a gas station, so it’s a good idea to refill your tank before it gets too low.
Budget For Repairs and More
All cars need regular maintenance. Be prepared to pay for regular oil changes and wear and tear on your vehicle, but you may have to make more repairs than you think. With so many people parking and driving in close proximity, you shouldn’t be surprised if you have to repair a fender or reattach a rearview mirror.
That’s not all! Of course, you have to budget for insurance, but you will also have to budget for parking meters and toll roads. Chances are, you’ll end up with a ticket every now and then, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough in your bank account to pay for the occasional ticket too.
Protect Your Car From Thieves
It’s important to protect your car from thieves because there’s no shortage of people willing to break into your car to steal anything from sound systems to steering wheels to phone chargers. Make sure your car has an alarm system, and keep the interior clean so thieves aren’t tempted to break in.
You may not think about your tires and your wheels, but they need to be protected too! Keep your wheels and rims safe from thieves by:
- Installing a car alarm with wheel sensors
- Parking in a guarded garage or near lots of traffic
- Turning your wheels when parking
- Consider using wheel locks
Make Sure You Use It!
Even though some people have cars in New York City, they don’t always use them. It’s still easier to get around by foot or by taking the subway. The trouble is, if you only use your car once or twice a year, it isn’t worth the cost!
Find reasons to get in the car and drive around. Consider driving for Uber or Lyft to recoup some of the costs of driving your vehicle, show visiting friends around the city, and make plans to take day trips outside the city on the weekends to make the most of owning a car in this congested area.
Owning a car in New York City can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it! If you follow the tips on this list, you can make sure you get the most out of owning, driving, and maintaining a vehicle in The Big Apple.