Driving in a busy city can be tricky if you’re not prepared. The extra hustle and bustle, winding streets, one-way systems and more can be a shock to the system, but don’t panic!
We’re here to help with some tips to take the stress out of city driving.
Be aware of people
Cities are busy, often to a ludicrous level. Commuters, tourists, cyclists – the roads are usually filled or surrounded by people.
It might feel like you need to have eyes in the back of your head, especially when people nip between cars when traffic is at a standstill. It can make it a bit trickier when you’re trying to manoeuvre, but take your time, and just be as vigilant as possible.
One of the easiest ways to make parking in a city centre less of a headache is to avoid it entirely.
Big cities are usually supported by strong infrastructure, trains, buses, trams, park-and-ride services, etc. If you can park outside the city centre and let someone else have to deal with navigating the streets and people, then it’s worth considering.
This way you can usually find cheaper parking, dodge the lion’s share of the inner-city traffic, and get where you need to in relative comfort.
Pre-book your parking
Like most journeys preparation is key. Pre-booking can help you avoid driving around looking for a parking space by giving you somewhere to aim for. This is perfect if you’re aiming for somewhere specific, or you want to find somewhere to park a little more out of the way so you can use public transport to get you the rest of the way.
Parking in cities can sometimes be a little on the expensive side, pre-booking lets you plan in advance, finding cheaper parking and arranging your stay so you know exactly how much your parking is going to cost you.
Avoid popular and crowded areas
You know when you go to the supermarket on a weekend and it’s heaving? City parking, in popular areas, like near major shops or attractions, can be like that all the time.
So, instead of driving into the middle of all the hustle and bustle, park a little bit further away. If you’re visiting somewhere as a tourist, the benefit of this is you get to explore more of a city than you normally would.
Think about how good it feels to beat traffic and crowds and just get on with your day, a bit of a rethink about where you park can let you have that feeling whenever you go anywhere.
Be aware of disruptions
Cities feel like they are always under construction. It’s almost guaranteed that whatever city you’re in there are roadworks somewhere.
Coupled with the level of strikes and industrial action that hit public transport, you can have sudden spikes in traffic like when people have to take a diversion, or they can’t get the train.
Always check if there’s anything that could impact your trip. A train strike might not sound like an issue if you’re driving, but if it means more people on the roads it can also mean a greater demand on parking which could impact you.
Check the rules
There are a lot more rules in place in cities, purely to help keep people moving around them properly. Restrictions on-street parking, congestion charges and clear air zones are only going to grow in their use.
It’s another one to add to your checklist before you set off, but looking for what rules are going to impact you and where you park is important. It can help you avoid running into any extra charges or falling foul of a rule you weren’t aware of.
What other tricks do you use to make driving and parking in the city easier?