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Tips for driving in New York City traffic

From gridlocked traffic to a dearth of legal parking spaces, navigating the streets of Manhattan is not for the faint of heart. Motorists in New York City and other major metropolitan areas face different challenges than drivers in less populated locales.

It can easily take over an hour to get from one side of town to the other. Motorists have to plan ahead to compensate for snarled traffic, lane-jumping drivers and jaywalking pedestrians. That's why so many Big Apple residents use the city's public transit system to get from point A to point B.

When public transit is not an option

Still, there are times when New Yorkers shun the public transportation system for the freedom that driving themselves to their destinations can provide. On those occasions, the following tips might be helpful.

  • No right turn on red. In other cities in the United States, drivers can often legally make right turns at red lights. Such is not the case in New York City unless there is a sign indicating otherwise.
  • Left turns may only be permitted at certain times. Confused yet? It's understandable, since many major intersections prohibit making left turns during specific hours.
  • Slow down. The speed limit in New York City used to be 30 miles per hour (mph), but Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero reduced it in recent years to 25 mph to reduce traffic deaths.
  • Maintain awareness. Whether it's a darting pedestrian or a bike messenger weaving in and out of rush hour traffic, Manhattan drivers have to remain alert and aware of their changing surroundings at all times.
  • Don't run the light. Sure, it's tempting to step on the gas to get through that yellow light, but if you truly want to feel the wrath of New York drivers' honking rage, just let your vehicle block the intersection because you misjudged the traffic flow.

Accidents happen

To paraphrase a cheeky saying, "stuff happens," and when driving in New York City traffic, that "stuff" often translates to auto accidents. If you got T-boned or rear-ended by an at-fault driver, learn more about your right to seek compensation.

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