How to Drive in an Urban Area If You're from the Countryside

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If you’re from a rural area, you’re likely more familiar with driving in light traffic at a more relaxed speed than driving on the quick-paced and busy roads of urban centers. You may even dread the times you need to go into the city. But there are certain things that may require a trip into a metropolitan area:

  • Legal assistance
  • Major league sporting events
  • Medical specialists
  • Specialty shopping

Whether it’s for one of these things or for some other reason, here are some tips on how to make your drive through the city a little more pleasant.

Part 1 of 2: Preparing for your drive

If you get ready for your trip into the city, you should have a much better experience while you drive.

google maps
Image: Google Maps

Step 1: Plot your route the day before. Use Google Maps to get directions for your trip.

If you have more than one stop to make, plan the order in which you’ll be going to each stop.

Get directions between each stop for simple navigation.

Step 2: Start your journey well-rested. By getting a good night’s sleep the night before your trip, you’ll remain more calm when the stress of driving in the city begins; this is particularly important if you know that city driving makes you anxious.

Make sure you are up well before you need to leave. If you’re rushing around completing last-minute tasks, you’ll be stressed before you even get in your vehicle.

hand checking oil

Step 2: Get your vehicle ready. Avoid vehicle distractions while you’re in the busy city.

If you need to fuel up before you leave, do so the day before, and check your fluids to make sure they are topped off.

If you’re expecting inclement weather, top up your washer fluid and bring an extra jug with you.

If you need your vehicle checked out before you head out on your trip to the city, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic can do that for you.

Part 2 of 2: Using safe driving methods

Driving in a metropolitan area is very different from driving in the country. There are more stop lights, more lanes of traffic, overpasses, underpasses, off-ramps, and more. Regardless of where you’re headed in the city, maintaining sound driving techniques will ensure you get there safely.

Step 1: Plan your turns ahead of time. In busy traffic, it isn’t easy getting across multiple lanes of traffic.

When you know your turn is coming up in a block or two, move over to the appropriate lane. Don’t try to turn from any lanes other than the assigned turning lanes.

If you can’t get over to make your turn, it’s better to continue straight until the next turn and loop back around or circle the block than to disrupt traffic by turning from the wrong lane.

Step 2: Drive at the same speed as other traffic. Going with the flow will prevent frustration for both you and other drivers. If you drive slower than other traffic, you’ll be a potential obstacle that could cause an accident.

Should you be uncomfortable driving at the same speed as other traffic, it may be better to plan a route that doesn’t include major streets.

car with signal light on

Step 2: Always signal your intentions. Other drivers need to know where you are planning to be.

When you need to change lanes or make a turn, signal at least 10 car lengths in advance.

Maintain your speed when changing lanes and keep your signal light on until your lane change or turn is complete.

driver waving

Step 4: Be courteous to other drivers. Drive confidently and assertively but let others move through traffic as well.

Blocking someone from passing you or entering your lane is dangerous and can cause an accident.

Wave when someone lets you in, as long as it is safe to take your hand off the wheel.

When you’re driving in a metropolitan area, there are distractions everywhere. Do your best to keep your focus on the road ahead until you get to your destination. If you end up getting flustered, find a safe spot to stop and relax.


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Mario

18 years of experience
101 reviews
Mario
18 years of experience
Honda Prelude - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Fort Myers, Florida
on Arrival he introduced himself. Extended his hand with a warm and welcoming shake as he addressed me my name. Mario got right to work. He looked at everyThing under the hood. Then he Showed me and explained The discoveries that needed attention and repairs. He is soKnowledgeable and veryCourteous. I will beUsing Mario for all the needs, repairs for/to my Honda Prelude. I highly recommend Mario! He is an ace!!!
Dodge Avenger - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Fort Myers, Florida
I scheduled for work to be done to replace my vehicle's serpentine belt, pulley, and tensioner ('cause Firestone said that it needed to be "replace"). When Mario arrived and checked the belt, he was very honest and informed me that the serpentine belt did not need to be replaced. He showed me the serpentine belt and pointed out that it did not have any cracks. It didn't need to be replaced for "preventive maintenance" either. I appreciate his honesty and the time that he took to show me other issues (that Firestone failed to mention) and explained it.

Jerimiah

17 years of experience
324 reviews
Jerimiah
17 years of experience
BMW 528i - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Las Vegas, Nevada
Fantastic....There is a lot of work needed. He informed me that I needed work done on my control arm which was replaced in Dec 2018 by Big O Tires. Not sure how long they should last but I am pretty sure that I can get atleast a year. They replaced them(supposedly), but the issue continued after. Anyway, I am glad that Jeremiah pointed this out. Thank

Pardeep

19 years of experience
578 reviews
Pardeep
19 years of experience
Ford Escape - 75 Point Safety Inspection - San Jose, California
Pradeep immediately found the suspension problem I was worried about and fixed it. We had just purchased this car and now feel a lot better about it now that he has checked it out.

Alexander

18 years of experience
58 reviews
Alexander
18 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - 75 Point Safety Inspection - Kissimmee, Florida
Look at issue with my vehicle. Quickly diagnosed the problem, which actually saved me some money. Problem was fixed and vehicle running in less than one hour. Suggested other things I should due to keep vehicle in running shape.

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