To paraphrase an old adage, if you can drive in New York City, you can drive anywhere.
But that doesn’t mean that skill won’t come without a price to pay. The prospect of driving in New York City—and all the outlying boroughs–can be a daunting task. Traffic can keep you tied up for hours. Pedestrians will walk right in front of your car. Construction seems to be everywhere.
But, once you master the nuances, you’re good to go forever.
Let’s start with the ever-present pedestrians. Please: Always be aware of your surroundings at all times as you drive. Make eye contact with pedestrians whenever possible. Use your horn when, and if, necessary. But not to frighten or intimidate the pedestrian.
In that same vein, always be aware that city streets draw a lot of city vehicles that provide various important services—sanitation trucks and ambulances among them—and they can cause traffic jams. At all times, remain calm and wait for trucks and ambulances to do their thing and move on. Always pull to the right for an ambulance and let it proceed on its important mission.
And then we have taxi cabs. City (and outer borough cabs) can be difficult to deal with. Impatient cab drivers are everywhere, but don’t challenge them. Let them pass and reduce your speed to allow two cars lengths distance between you and the car in front of you. Haste most definitely makes waste in these matters.
City buses can also cause problems. There are many tour buses (including double-deckers) that clog city streets. These often drive slowly (to allow tourists the best view of The Big Apple) and make wide turns. Keep your eyes open around them.
Also, keep in mind that it is illegal to make a right-hand turn on red in the city. Making one of these illegal turns will cost you a significant fine. If in doubt, always look for a sign that may allow a right-hand turn on a red light.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that aggressive drivers are the norm in the city and outer boroughs. Always stay alert for sudden lane changes and unusual driving maneuvers. Expect the unexpected.