Driving in a big city is decidedly different than maneuvering around town, but navigating the Big Apple is a whole different animal. It’s a little more complicated, a little more expensive and a lot more crowded than just about any other place in America. Given the choice, it’s usually preferable to rely on other means of travel, but if you’re out of options, take the stress out of your day with these seven tips for driving in New York City.
Share the Road
The city is always teeming with life, meaning streets and sidewalks are constantly packed with people. Like in most cities, pedestrians don’t always stay within the painted lines when they need to cross, so keep a sharp eye out for jaywalkers in addition to law-abiding crosswalk users, bicyclists and others on the street.
Right and Wrong Turns
In most of the United States, drivers are permitted to make right turns at red lights unless otherwise noted. New York plays by a different set of rules though, so remember that it’s illegal to turn right on red without a sign stating otherwise.
Pay the Piper
It’s a reality: there are very few places you’ll be able to park in the city without kicking over a few bucks (unless you like walking). Buying your way into a commercial garage or filling the meter is worth it, though—the potential expenses of tickets and towing will very quickly outweigh the cost of just about any paid parking option.
Remember the advice your parents gave you about deals that seem too good to be true? It’s usually pretty accurate. Many parking garages lure drivers in with attractive rates—and then you read the fine print. Likewise, if you come upon wide-open rows of available street parking, look a little closer. Signs will advise of loading zones, scheduled cleaning and other official needs which limit or eliminate the possibility of street parking in certain areas.
Know the Hour
Your dashboard clock will never come in handier than when driving in the big city, as many seemingly legal left turns are off-limits during more heavily-trafficked hours. Make sure to pay extra-close attention to road signs when getting around NYC, or face the prospect of a hefty ticket.
Don’t Get Caught Snoozing
NYC is active at all hours, and so is the city’s parking enforcement. The little infractions you can sometimes get away with elsewhere late at night will almost certainly be noticed—and ticketed accordingly—in the Big Apple. Save yourself a little cash and frustration by sticking to the rules, no matter what the hour is.
Make a Note
It might sound silly to make notes about where you parked your car, but think of how difficult it can be to find one’s vehicle even after a few hours in your local shopping mall. Multiply that confusion times a very large number and you have a potential reality that’s best to avoid. Use your phone or write it on your hand, but don’t lose track of where you left your wheels.
Driving in New York City is manageable for anyone—millions do it every day. Perform a little research in advance to make parking and navigation a little easier and you’ll be sure to enjoy your travels throughout the city that never sleeps.