The 5 Most Important Things To Know about Driving in a Big City

    January 14, 2013 at 4:30 am

    These are just the 5 most important things to know about driving in a big city, in fact there are dozens of tips you should know just to not get assaulted by an angry bicyclist. Prepare for combat. Here are five things you should know about driving in a big city:


    Depending on your perspective, this can be the best or worst thing about owning and driving a car in a large city. Swerving to narrowly avoid jaywalkers who are playing Frogger, being driven off the road by rabid cab drivers, constantly looking out for undercover cops, racing to make that yellow light, squeezing in to cut off a long line of stand-still traffic trying to get on the Brooklyn Bridge! It’s all so exciting. Until someone cuts you off and clips the mirror off your car, or a bike rides down the wrong side of the street and blames you for accidentally running them over. That’s what the bike lane is for, okay?

    Parking on the Corner

    Parking on the corner in a big city

    Don’t do it. Just don’t. Some garbage truck or drunk driver will come along at four in the morning and tear your bumper off and leave a gigantic, sad gash in the street-facing doors of your car. No, they won’t leave a note and you’ll never find out who did it. I hope you have good insurance.

    Both of my roommates and myself have suffered this fate on more than one occasion. I was the lucky one; the guy who tore off my front bumper actually did leave a note under my windshield. It’s like going outside to see that your child has had his arm torn off, only to find a post-it on his head saying “Sorry! Call me; I want to take care of this” followed by a phone number.

    The streets are narrow and the cars are plentiful. Turns are often tight. Beware the convenient spot on the corner.


    People Crossing Really Slow

    People crossing really slow

    My mother calls this “the death wish,” probably because she very badly aches to run down all of those who participate in this obnoxious maneuver. The light has just turned green. A mopey-faced citizen or two sees this and decides to cross the street regardless. Fine. Should take two seconds, right?

    You’ll be listening to the infuriated honks of the people behind you as you watch the Death Wisher drag him or herself across the street, appearing to deliberately slow their pace just…because they can. What are you going to do, run them over? You (probably) won’t.


    Getting Towed

    Getting car towed in a big city

    Tickets are bad enough, but try getting towed at 6AM on a Monday morning and walking outside to discover that your car has disappeared in what will turn out to be the most miserable, costly magic trick of your entire life. You call the closest tow pound. No, they haven’t found your car. You start to freak out. Did someone steal it? You’re in the middle of trying to file a stolen car report when you try the tow pound one more time and discover, by way of the droll, life-hating voice on the other end of the line, that yes, your car was towed and has only just been registered in the system.

    Fine. You head down to the pound to pay the fine, which is $185.00 plus whatever your ticket is — probably $80-$100. There’s one clerk taking one miserable victim at a time while other employees meander aimlessly behind the bullet-proof glass, laughing, engaging in small talk and making a public display of not doing their jobs while the line begins to grow out the door.

    After two hours of sighing and refreshing Instagram, it’s your turn. You step up to the window. Yes, you have your insurance card; it’s in your car, where it belongs. No, you can’t retrieve it. You’ll have to take the bus over to the DMV, get a new insurance card printed, and return to the tow pound.

    If you manage to make the trip, get a numbered ticket at the DMV, wait in line, get your card, get back on the bus and arrive at the tow pound all before 4PM closing time, you may be able to retrieve your car. If not, you’ll have to come back in the morning and pay an overnight fee of $20 and trying for weeks to scrape off the neon sticker paper stuck to your window.


    Everyone Wants a Ride

    Give Me A Ride

    “Do you want to drive me home?” Of course you don’t want to. But will you? You have a car and they don’t; it’s so much easier for you to get around. Besides, it’ll be fun — hanging out in the car together.

    Until the length of your trip is more than doubled when you have to drive back alone in the worst traffic you have ever experienced.

    Everyone wants a ride when you’re the only one with a car. You’re a free taxi, or an otherwise extremely cheap one to those who are nice enough to offer you gas money.


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