New York City is one of the most famous places on the planet, and one of the most iconic cities of them all. Even those who haven’t been to NYC in person are still familiar with the city’s skyline and landmarks like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, and the Big Apple is a phenomenal place in which to live and work.
But even though life in New York has a whole lot to offer, from world-class restaurants and bars to awe-inspiring skyscrapers and amazing museums, it still brings a lot of challenges along with it, and one of the biggest issues that New Yorkers often face is the fact that driving in NYC can be immensely difficult and even dangerous.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re navigating the grid-like streets of Manhattan or driving around the Bronx, auto accidents of all kinds occur at a very high rate in this city. Indeed, New York often appears in lists of US cities with the most auto accidents, and drivers can easily feel intimidated in this city, which is just one reason why so many locals choose to use public transport instead of their own cars.
Relying on taxis and the subway can be a good way to get around in New York, but there are many situations in which you might need to drive instead, so this guide will take a look at some of the top tips to follow in order to reduce your risk of auto accidents and help you stay safe on those big city streets as you get around from place to place.
Stay Focused and Alert
It’s always important to be focused, alert, and aware when driving in any kind of environment, rural or urban, but it’s especially vital to not let your focus levels slip when you’re in a big city like NYC, as accidents can arise from the slightest little thing and the surrounding road situation can change in a matter of seconds.
You always have to be alert and aware of your surroundings, with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road ahead and around you. Use your mirrors to know where other cars are in relation to your vehicle, keep an eye on the sidewalks for pedestrians who might be attempting to cross the street, pay attention to road signs, and don’t let yourself lose concentration.
Avoid Road Rage
Aggressive driving is a huge problem in big urban environments like New York City, and it can be a major contributing factor that causes a lot of accidents to happen in the first place too. Rear-end collisions and sideswipe collisions are often linked to road rage, and allowing yourself to get mad behind the wheel is never a good idea and will always increase your odds of having an accident.
It’s easy to understand why so many people experience road rage in NYC, as it can feel quite intimidating to drive around in this city and there are a lot of drivers who bend the rules or show a lack of respect for others. But even if this happens, try to remain calm and keep your cool, focusing on staying safe and driving defensively, rather than aggressively.
Keep Your Distance
In a big city environment, with bumper-to-bumper traffic being quite common, it’s easy for drivers to get in the habit of being very close to the vehicle in front of them. Some drivers even seem to feel like they need to stick as close as possible to the vehicle ahead in order to urge them forwards and get to their destination sooner.
However, one of the golden rules of safe driving is all about keeping your distance. If you start tailgating or getting too close to other cars, you’ll be raising your own risks of ending up in an auto accident, so try to avoid this bad habit. Even when traffic is tight, try to keep at least some distance between your car and the car in front, just in case you need to stop suddenly or change direction to avoid an unexpected hazard.
Have the Right Frame of Mind
If you’re going to drive in New York City, you need to be prepared for it. It’s a totally unique experience, and even if you’re used to big city driving, you might not be ready for what Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs have to throw at you. This is a city that truly does never sleep, with intense traffic almost all day long, a lot of angry drivers, and a lot of noise too.
It’s one of the most-visited cities in the world, so not only do you have to worry about the millions of locals, but also the millions of tourists too, and this is another reason why accidents are common here, as many tourists are unsure of the rules or make mistakes when getting around. Make sure you’ve got the right mindset before starting a journey in NYC; try to remain calm, focused, and be ready for anything.
Watch Out for Pedestrians and Cyclists
As stated earlier on, NYC is one of the biggest cities in America and it’s also one of the most touristic cities on the planet, so you can expect to see countless people all over the sidewalks and thousands of cyclists making their way around from place to place in this big city, every single day, and you need to be ready to react to their actions, as well as the actions of cars and vehicles too.
While your main focus needs to be on the road, it’s wise to also pay attention to the sidewalks, as some people in New York might step out onto the street without much warning. You also need to keep an eye on your mirrors for any cyclists who might be coming up behind or alongside your car and be sure to keep your distance from them too.
Driving in NYC is often a challenge, which is why so many people recommend using subways and taxis to get around, but if you have to drive in the Big Apple, follow these tips to stay safe.