Road Rage and You: Three Ways to Stay Safe While Driving in Major Cities
If you live in a densely populated urban area, like Chicago or New York, you’re probably all-too-familiar with how chaotic and occasionally dangerous traffic can be. With taxis ducking and weaving in and out of lanes at high speed, pedestrians jay-walking and doing their darnedest to cross busy roads, and the crowded nature of the roads themselves, with cars often stacked bumper to bumper, the city can be a treacherous place to drive. It’s easy to get into an accident, especially if a commercial vehicle operator isn’t paying attention, other drivers are in a hurry, or you’re a character in a Final Destination film.
Fortunately, there are ways to drive defensively in these kinds of environments, practices that you can adopt to respond quickly and safely when that car to your right unpredictably cuts into your lane. Putting aside preventative measures like making sure you have the proper insurance, these tips will help you feel comfortable driving in the city and responding to threats to your safety as they present themselves.
Here are a few good rules of thumb to keep in mind for the next time you venture into the concrete jungle.
1 Be Aware of Your Environment
Drivers in any environment should have at least a basic knowledge of what’s going on around them at all times, but the city requires a more keen eye. Drivers in urban environments may cut into your lane without warning, often drive and park bumper-to-bumper, and traffic jams are frequent enough that there is little margin for error. Being aware of your surroundingsis absolutely key to staying safe while driving in a city, as well as being quick to react when something goes wrong.
To that end, try and avoid driving during rush hours or other times in the day where main roads will be more crowded than usual. You can’t control what the roads will be like, but you can limit your exposure to more dangerous conditions.
2 Stay Away From Taxis and Commercial Vehicles
More than other commercial vehicles, Taxis will cut in and out of lanes rapidly, pull over to the side of the road abruptly, and drive more aggressively to get their passengers to their destinations. As such, it’s generally a good idea to stay well out of a taxi’s way, something that most city dwellers will know innately but bears repeating.
What you may not have thought about is the likelihood of getting into an accident with a commercial vehicle: truck crashes are significantly more dangerous than your average car crash, as they weigh quite a bit more than passenger cars and can easily do a lot of damage should an accident occur. It’s also remarkably likely you’ll get into one, as truck driver fatigue, lack of proper vehicle maintenance, and overall braking distance all contribute to a not-insignificant number of truck crashes in large cities. While there are ways to seek recompense if you get into an accident with a commercial vehicle, as these are not always easy to avoid in major cities, it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.
3 Don’t Worry, Be Happy
The road can be stressful, and while you need to keep a sharp eye out for any road-raging drivers around you, you also need to keep an eye on your stress level. Try your best to stay in the right lane, as that’s where the most cautious drivers tend to be, and stay around the speed limit; don’t go too fast, as you want to be prepared in case other drivers around you aren’t interested in driving cautiously.
Do little things to decrease your stress level, like listening to music or getting a coffee before stepping into your car. You want to be alert while driving, not stressed, as one will protect you from threats from other drivers and the other will make you a danger to others.
Stay Safe Out There
It’s easier to get into an accident than one might think, especially in crowded metropolitan areas. But with the right techniques and practices, you can confidently travel in these kinds of environments knowing that you are prepared to face the worst.