Driving in NYC, especially in Manhattan, gained a bad reputation, and most locals and tourists usually prefer using the subway or riding a taxi. However, sometimes driving a car is unavoidable for various reasons: a special occasion, a business or a family trip, etc. For these scenarios, follow the tips to learn how to cope with the challenges of driving in Manhattan, NYC.
1. Drive Slowly
The speed limit in NYC is 30 miles per hour (about 48 kmh), and the city’s new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, plans to reduce it even further to 25 miles per hour. In addition to cars, taxis and buses, NYC streets are filled with pedestrians, cyclists, street vendors and traffic lights, so even off rush hour you cannot drive fast.
2. Don’t Turn Right on Red
Note that in NYC, unlike most other cities in the US, turning right on red is forbidden (unless there’s a sign indicating otherwise) and you must wait for the green light to turn. Also pay attention to signs, especially on main avenues, which may prohibit turning left on some hours.
3. Pay Attention to Pedestrians & Bikes
In NYC intersections, pedestrians have the right of way, so you will have to wait for all of them to cross the street before continuing driving. However, don’t count on New Yorkers to cross streets only on legal intersections, so it is basically recommended to keep an open eye on people everywhere.
Cyclists are another challenge for NYC drivers, as many bike lanes were added in recent years. Take them in consideration when making turns. When parking, make sure you don’t knock off a cyclist as you open the door.
4. Get ready for NYC traffic jams
NYC, especially Manhattan, traffic rush hours run every morning, between 7 and 9, and from 4 to 7 in the afternoon, especially around bridges and tunnels. The traffic gets busier on Saturday night, so either use alternative solutions or take a deep breath… Getting stuck in the middle of a crossing when the light changes and everyone around you are honking is an unpleasant situation you should try to avoid. If it happens and you can’t get out, simply wait for the light to change again and rescue you.
Parking in NYC may take some time and money. Although there are many free street parking spaces in Manhattan, they are usually occupied, so be prepared to pay the meter. NYC new muni-meters are now accepting also dollar coins and credit card (as well as quarters), just don’t forget to place the receipt on your car or your rental car window – NYC parking enforcement is very strict. NYC also has many parking garages with various price ranges and it is recommended to check rates and deals using websites and applications such as Icon and NYC Best Parking.
In conclusion, despite the horror stories, driving in NYC can upgrade your trip and provide comfort and freedom no taxi and subway train can. Do you need to rent a car for a short or a long period? Contact us and get the best car rental rates in NYC!