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Driving in a big city is difficult. Some rules may be broken more often than you are used to. And however bad driving in a big city is, New York is a completely different beast. Driving in New York City is not for the weak, so you should prepare yourself the best you can. The best type of preparation is reading about everything that is going in the New York City traffic. However, that is not the real lesson. The real lesson is using that knowledge in the field. So, in order to gain experience in driving in NY, you need to drive in NY! To help you in that endeavor, we have devised an article about surviving NYC traffic. So, without any further ado, let’s get driving!
Surviving NYC traffic: Do not drive in New York City!
The best tip you can get when you want to drive your car around NYC is to not drive at all! Most New York City residents get around by train or by bus. The tickets are not that expensive, and you will not have to worry about the crazy traffic and finding a parking spot. Even if you have to travel there by car, it is best to park it somewhere and use the public commute system. The fact that most residents use the subway makes it dirty and overcrowded. But believe us, it is your best option if you are moving to NYC with kids.
Always check the traffic lights
If you did not listen to the first advice we gave you, then you need to listen to each one from now on. You are probably used to making a right turn even if the light is red. This is legal in most states in the US. However, it is not legal in New York City except if there is a traffic signalization that tells you can turn right at the red light. This signal may look like a green arrow attached to the side of the traffic light, so pay attention to this! You do not want to create a traffic jam, or even worse, an accident.
You also need to look at traffic signs. Manhattan is a really crowded place for most of the week. However, there are still some car-friendly parts of Manhattan. There are some avenues that forbid turning left at certain hours of the day. For example, you cannot turn left on most of the Fifth avenue during peak hours. Peak hours in Manhattan are from 7 AM to 7 PM, which means most of the day. However, these rules do not apply to Sundays because there is far less traffic then. This is a big trick when it comes to surviving NYC traffic!
Watch for pedestrians!
The fact that New York City is the most populated city in the United States of America makes driving there even harder. This is a vital step in surviving NYC traffic. There are many pedestrians on the street that do not really pay attention to the traffic. Another thing is that there are a lot of bicycles. The bicycles make things harder because there are many bicycle couriers that go really fast and do not pay attention to the traffic lights at all. So, hold your foot ready on that brake pedal for a quick reaction!
You will spend time looking for parking
Looking for a parking space in New York City can really be a pain. “Can” is actually an understatement. It WILL be a pain… Make sure to go somewhere about an hour early, because that is the approximate amount of time you will probably spend looking for a good parking space. You may even find a parking space that is about a 15-minute (or more) walk from your destination, so be ready for that. You should also be ready to pay the meter. The meters in NYC are modern and accept credit cards and cash, not only quarters. Pay for the ticket and then put it on the dashboard to activate it. There is a trick for parking tickets. If you still have time on your parking ticket, and you moved your car to a different parking space in the same borough, you will be able to use the same ticket. Surviving NYC traffic like a boss!
Also, you need to learn about the best parking spaces in New York City. Best Parking NYC can help you with that. There are rates for every parking space and every parking garage on the website. A very useful tool for surviving NYC traffic. Make sure to use it!
24/7 parking surveillance
In NYC, the parking service works 24/7. If you park illegally, you will most probably get a ticket. No excuse. Also, if you run out of time, you will be fined very quickly after that moment. There is an anecdote when one of the moving companies Queens got fined for not paying 10 seconds after the deadline. Do not mess with the New York City parking service. They are mostly spot-on. To combat this strict time schedule, you can set up an alarm on your phone that will give you enough time to get to your car and prolong your usage of the parking space.
Do not get towed
Getting towed is the worst thing that can happen to a car owner in New York City. This is because they are very fast to react to calls and they charge you a lot for storage (around $100/day). Another bad thing related to getting towed is the fact that the towing facility is usually far from the place they towed your car. Your car may end up on Long Island, even though it was parked in Manhattan. In addition, they do not care about the fine you may have to pay for your bad parking, they will still charge you their own price when you go to pick your car up.