Living in the country offers more relaxation than most communities – between the secluded houses, long dirt roads and lack of skyscrapers, you're sure to drive around in little to no traffic. Likewise, a suburban setting is mostly residential, so the most congestion you'll find will stem from the kids playing an intense game of street hockey. However, driving in the city can be an absolute disaster if you don't come up with a good strategy. Because let's face it – who really wants to sit in traffic for an hour when your office is only three miles away?
Don't worry – here are a few tips for finding the best car for city driving and mastering your route to avoid frustration:
Buy the right vehicle
Before you head to the big city, you need to consider your current ride. When you live in a suburban or rural setting, driving around a large SUV or pickup truck is fine – not exactly the case in the city. Before you tackle the congested one-way streets, AutoTrader strongly suggested picking a car that fits your needs, not necessarily your wants. Think about it this way: In the city, space is limited. So when it comes time to parallel park that fancy large vehicle you bought with the intention of showing it off, just forget it. If you don't really need that oversized ride, get rid of it. Consider a small compact car or sedan as your replacement for getting from point A to point B.
"Avoid leasing a car in the city."
Another quick tip: Avoid leasing a car. You don't want to risk your vehicle getting damaged due to all of the commotion going on in the city. If you lease a car and notice scratches and scrapes before you return it, you could be subject to a paying for the repairs. Instead, just buy one of the quality used cars from our lot! If your car gets damaged in any way, just bring it back for our maintenance guys to take care of it.
How to drive
Once you've invested in a quality compact car, you're ready to venture out into the frenzy of the city streets. You can't expect the drive to be as easy as it is in the suburbs, so keep these tips in mind for driving safely through traffic:
1. Be conscious about mileage
City streets are a mess of stop-and-go traffic – and that can really affect your car if you're not driving properly. According to Edmunds, your gas mileage takes a beating too, so make sure you're not speeding up just to slow right back down. Accelerate lightly and coast whenever possible. And if you find yourself in a dead stop, switch gears into neutral. This will do your gas tank some serious good. Lastly, don't forget to keep your tank at least half full. After all, how many gas stations have you seen in the city? They're hard to come by, so you won't have many options – if any – for filling back up if you're on E.
2. Stop switching lanes
Sure, there's a cars-length of room to squeeze into the next lane. But are you really going to get there any faster if you decide to move over? Keep the lane changing to a minimum while traveling in heavy traffic – this can reduce your chance of experiencing a fender bender at the worst time possible. Who really wants to be the reason traffic is backed up even worse?
3. Avoid rush hour
This might be impossible for some, but if you can manage, try to stay off the city roads during rush hour. Generally, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., are the time frames when the city streets get most congested because everyone is trying to get to work or head back home – and they're all doing it at the same time. If you can avoid rush hour traffic, you'll save yourself the frustration that often results in road rage, which could ultimately lead to a collision occurring.
4. Always think big picture
Driving through the city offers an opportunity to view plenty of beautiful sights because there's so much going on. But, unfortunately, that's also a hazard that could lead you slamming into someone's rear end. When navigating through city streets, just remember to use all of your mirrors, side windows and entire windshield to view the big picture while you travel. Neglecting to keep an eye on every direction could lead to a collision, so just be careful.
5. Give yourself ample time
Navigating through a big city can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you're a first timer. That's why Big City Driver recommends giving yourself ample time to travel from your home to your office in the city every morning, This can ensure that you'll drive safely which will lessen your chance of speeding to get to work on time. Who knows – maybe you'll even avoid the city traffic completely!
Need a new ride to fit your city-living lifestyle? Come on over to NJ Auto Auction, where we have a lot full of Carfax-certified vehicles to choose from.