What is it Like Driving in New York City?

April 12, 2022

Driving in New York City demands some serious abilities and patience. Between the restless and furious drivers, the impossibility of street parking, the incapacity to go right on red, with the dread of becoming stranded in the center of an intersection, this is not the place to casually cruise between lanes.

One of the most critical things to understand is a unique law. Never turn right at a red light. It is against New York City’s law. Although it might be legal in your hometown, do not attempt it here.

Additionally, if you get a green light but cannot pass the junction due to traffic, refrain from “blocking the box.” You may be issued a ticket if you obstruct the traffic flow.

And the drivers of the vehicles you’ve stopped will honk at you. This may be a frightening experience for you as well as your family.

Before you pile into the car, review this driving advice for New York City. They could even be able to rescue your sanity plus your vehicle.

What is it Like Driving in New York City?

#1. Knowing the Road Rules for Driving in New York City

Even the most assured drivers may find New York City’s congested streets and brave pedestrians unsettling.

And, given the city’s continual commerce, the traffic laws for turns and parking are probably much different from what you’re accustomed to at home.

  • Highway signs: Numerous main thoroughfares prohibit left turns at specific hours. These restrictions are intended to alleviate congestion at busy junctions, and if you are discovered making an unlawful turn, you will be fined. Therefore keep a close eye out for signage.
  • Honking: In New York City, “unnecessary honking” is legally unlawful and carries a $350 punishment. However, it doesn’t need to surprise you that this regulation is rarely implemented. While blowing your horn is a satisfying expression for most New York drivers, you need to avoid contributing to noise pollution by doing so.
  • Pedestrians: New York City pedestrians are adventurous and routinely jaywalk, so keep an eye out for where you are driving, regardless of whether you are near a crosswalk.
  • Fire hydrants and sidewalks: When parking on the street, keep a minimum of 15 feet far from fire hydrants, or your car will likely be towed. If you park close to a crosswalk, ensure that your tires are completely outside the crossing markers to avoid receiving a penalty.
  • Cell phones: It is prohibited to use a hand-held device while driving, whether chatting or texting, and you might face a fine if detected. There are certain exceptions, such as when using the hands-free capabilities or conducting an emergency call.
  • Alcohol: In New York City, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limitation for driving under the influence is .08 percent. Additionally, smoking inside the car is prohibited when riding with a kid under 18 and is punishable by a fine on the first violation.
  • Avoid obstructing the box: If you notice the signal will change, maintain your current position to avoid becoming trapped at the junction. You will see warnings that read “do not obstruct the box,” and failing to do so may result in a hefty punishment.

#2. Keep an Eye Out for Pedestrian Crossings

Ensure that the green light is indeed green. Do not take the walk indication as a signal to advance.

Numerous crossings, especially those where fatal accidents have occurred, feature delayed green lights and timed walk signals to allow pedestrians to cross safely.

#3. Take Notice of Bicyclists

Always keep an eye out for scooter riders, pedestrians crossing in the middle of the street with dogs, pedestrians texting while walking, bikers texting while riding, and bikers walking dogs AND texting while riding.

Indeed, you must maintain a constant state of alertness.

#4. Get Parking Right

Parking is something else in NYC. Perhaps the last time you parallel parked was during your driving test.

You may wish to brush up on your abilities at home before attempting it on crowded streets.

On top of the difficulty, some street parking is adjacent to a bike lane, requiring you to cross the cycle traffic to park.

Even in venues with parking, such as Citifield, home of the New York Mets, the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, or the Bronx Zoo, you will be competing for space with pushy New Yorkers.

The cost of parking here may not be worth the inconvenience.

#5. Evaluate the Safety Features of Your Vehicle

While driving in New York City, you should know that you require eyes in the back of your head.

However, a safety package may make things easier. What about that blind spot detector?

Are you aware of cross-traffic? This is critical when a car appears out of nowhere and follows you. It’s equally critical.

However, what about those autos that beep when you attempt to park too near another vehicle?

Every time you park, you will be near another vehicle. That is the beast’s nature. If possible, turn off the audio.

#6. Guard Your Side View Mirrors

Always fold your side-view mirrors in when driving in New York City (after you have turned off the vehicle!).

If you park on the street, you may think that the curbside mirror is invulnerable to harm. You may also have to pay for a replacement side-view mirror during your vacation.

Motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and skateboarders demand the small area between your automobiles and the curb.

Why not protect your mirror? Just remember to retract the mirrors before driving away.

#7. Keep an Eye Out for Green Lights

Ascertain that you are operating at maximum efficiency. Keep an eye on the lights and accelerate as soon as you see a green light.

Otherwise, the man in front of you will collide with your bumper.

Wrapping Up!

If you have made it this far, you know what it is like to drive in New York City. With all the essential dos to land yourself on the right side, you’ll have a great experience.

You can explore this city worry-free!