Town and City Driving

Driving in a busy town can be very stressful if you're not used to it. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you're going, especially if it's an important appointment (or a hot date), as there may be delays.

Planning


Before you travel have a look at the street map of the area and take a note of the larger street names, so you know you're heading in the right direction. Satellite navigation is a great help if your car has it. If not, have a street map in the car in case you get lost, so you can pull in to the side (safely) and recheck the map.

If you find yourself in the wrong lane don't panic. You can always go around in a square and retrace your route back to where you went wrong. If there's time, wait for a suitable gap and rejoin the correct lane.

Queues


In a traffic queue leave enough room between you and the car in front so you can move out if they break down. As a rough guide you should be able to see the bottom of the rear tyres of the vehicle in front of you. If you're stuck in a queue of traffic, you may even consider switching off your engine to conserve fuel and to prevent the car overheating. You can also reduce the risk of overheating if you turn the car heater to HOT and turn the blower fan on fully. In some cities you may be fined if you don't switch off.

Speed


There may be variable speed limits in some areas, e.g. schools may have 20mph limits outside them just at times when children are about. Make sure you keep an eye out for changes in speed limits.

Pedestrians


There are a lot more pedestrians crossing roads and streets in towns or cities, especially near shops or schools. Pedestrians have a tendency to run between slow moving vehicles, especially children and young adults so be aware and be ready to stop. Also look out for large groups of pupils crossing roads near secondary schools in the morning, lunchtime and when they finish school.

Bus lanes


Where there are bus lanes, always read the signs at the start of the lane for the operation times. Not all bus lanes are 24 hrs. Some are for just for peak times, others are all day from 7.00am until 7.00pm. Often drivers just avoid them all the time, but there are often times you can use them. Sometimes you might be the only person in the lane. Buses, taxis or even cyclists may be travelling faster on your left-hand side. Make full use of your mirrors before turning left across a bus lane.