Whether you’re braving the 405 near Los Angeles or crossing the West Seattle Bridge, there are busy roadways in big cities all across the country, making navigation difficult at all times of the day. Driving through large cities can be intimidating for residents and visitors, alike, particularly when considering the increased risk of being involved in an accident. Since avoiding the roads, that travel in and around big cities, is almost impossible, here are some driving tips to consider the next time you’re behind the wheel:
Avoid Heavy Traffic When Possible
If you’re traveling through a large city, heavy traffic is to be expected and can lead to hours of congestion. Not only can traffic congestion cause a headache inducing commute, but it can increase the likelihood of car accidents involving road rage and other dangerous factors. Additionally, a seemingly harmless and small fender bender can lead to bigger problems, such as a multiple car pile ups, if you’re stuck in gridlock.
Although heavy traffic is difficult to avoid, consider staying off the road during rush hour, which is typically 6 to 9am and 3 to 7pm (keep in mind that each city may differ). Schedule errands and appointments for later times or work from home if possible. If you find yourself needing to travel during rush hour, make sure you practice defensive driving, such as keeping your distance between other motorists.
Drive Without Distractions
It may come as no surprise that a significant amount of car crashes are caused by a driver who is distracted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 28% of car accidents are caused by texting and driving alone. It may be tempting to check your phone for a social media update or send a text that you’re running late when stuck in traffic on a busy street, but you must stay focused at all times. Remember, traffic on a busy roadway can speed up as quickly as it slows down. Failure to pay attention can cause an otherwise avoidable accident. In addition to ditching distractions, avoid driving when sleep deprived as it’s just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Things to Lookout For
Navigating through a large city is much different than driving down the open highway. It’s important to pay attention to and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists, therefore, you must share the road with them. Pedestrians, who can often create an obstacle in a large city, always have the right of way (even if it seems as though they jumped out in front of you). Sadly, accidents involving a pedestrian are common, particularly in big cities, so it’s important to constantly be on the lookout. Other things to always watch for include road construction, road signs indicating detours, etc., and car doors opening on narrow streets.
Sharing the Road with Other Motorists
Not only should you share the road with bicyclists and motorcyclists, but sharing the road with big trucks can be tricky in a large city. According to Marc C. Saperstein, truck accident attorney in New Jersey, of Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, PC, sharing the road with a large truck, such as a semi, can been challenging and dangerous due to factors such as a large truck driver’s inability to stay in the lane or reckless driving behavior. The best way to avoid an accident with a large truck is to give them enough room on the road, stay out of blind spots, and leave enough distance between you and the large truck (remember, it takes large trucks longer to slow down and speed up).
Driving in a big city can be stressful, but as long as you stay focused and know how to drive defensively, you can navigate with ease.