A wise man once said that cities are great until you have to drive in them. Actually, we made that up, but we think the sentiment rings true. There’s always stuff going on in the city, and unfortunately that includes a lot of potential driving hazards. So unless your city’s got such amazing public transportation that you never have to get behind the wheel, you’ll want to check out our top 5 ways to stay safe on those mean urban streets.
If you’ve got a navigation system with turn-by-turn directions, congratulations―you’re special. Most cars still lack GPS, and no, your smartphone is not an adequate substitute, let alone a legal one. To deal with all the distractions of city driving, you should have a pretty good idea of where you’re going before get there. So make sure you look at a map first to get your bearings, and consider writing out a list of important turns and landmarks that you can consult when you’re stopped at red lights, or in case you lose your way.
Cities are full of multilane thoroughfares that can get downright chaotic. Buses stop suddenly and then barge their way back into the flow, taxis swerve past like they’re in a demolition derby, and driver skill levels vary widely. You can’t control what the vehicles around you are doing, but you can keep tabs on them by constantly checking your mirrors and monitoring your entire field of vision. After all, you never know when you’ll have to make a sudden move of your own.
The good news is that cities are full of large crowds and law-enforcement personnel, both of which are bad news for would-be thieves and vandals. But they can’t help you if you park in a shadowy corner or along a sketchy side street. Don’t lose site of the fact that you’re always a potential target. Being street-smart means parking in secure lots or at busy curbs where criminals will have difficulty escaping notice.
If you’ve got an older car that lacks modern security features, the Club almost a must, but even late-model vehicles can benefit from the extra layer of protection. If you don’t believe us, take a stroll down a New York street sometime and count all the Clubs you see. They’re everywhere in the Big Apple, and we can’t think of a stronger endorsement for an anti-theft device. Thieves see the Club and think to themselves, “More work.” That could be the difference between escaping the city unscathed and coming back to an empty parking space.
Because it won’t take many tickets for you to realize that parking illegally is unsafe for your bank account. Many cities have such complicated parking signs that it’s as if they’re trying to confuse you―but when in doubt, don’t just shrug and hope for the best. Parking tickets can be insanely expensive in city centers, and unpaid tickets can trigger collection-agency involvement. That’s not something you want in your life. So dust off your logic skills and make sure you make sense of whatever the parking signs state, because nothing takes the shine off a great night on the town like returning to find an ominous envelope pinned to your windshield.