It can be difficult for even an experienced driver to navigate the vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians in a crowded location. When this area was designed, the goal was to maximize the amount of space available and provide the minimum amount of space required for drivers to navigate their vehicles without hitting parked cars or other obstacles. Traveling through these areas without being involved in an accident can be challenging.
When driving in crowded areas, understand your spatial limitations. Cramped streets provide little room for movement within a lane. Every driver is just feet from parked cars, street lights, trees, bikers, and walkers. This makes it nearly impossible to move to an outer lane to pass a slow-moving vehicle or get in front of a traffic jam. Remain in a lane and continuously assess the proximity of surroundings. If there is a choice between driving a large truck, van, or SUV and a smaller SUV or compact car, choose a smaller vehicle because this will make navigation an easier task.
Congestion is inevitable in these areas so come to terms with it. An impatient or frustrated driver is more likely to make an impulsive decision and end up in an accident. Do not turn down a side street or alley that was not designed for automobile traffic. Doing so will only extend the length of time it takes to get through the area. Instead, realize that not much can be done to pass through the congestion more quickly.
Understanding the layout of the area and which portions are most heavily traveled can make the trip less stressful. A high concentration of pedestrians will only add to driving frustration so avoid driving during peak volumes of foot traffic. If the destination requires a trip through a congested area, consider parking in a less-crowded location and walking the remainder of the way.
Yielding to the right of way is always recommended but is particularly important in areas filled with bikers and pedestrians. Yield even when you may have the right to proceed. Pedestrians traveling through the most heavily-walked areas often begin walking across streets early and continue crossing after their traffic light has turned red. Allow pedestrians to move out of the way before taking a foot off the brake.
A vehicle makes many starts and stops when traveling through crowded areas so it is important to maintain it. Monitor tire pressure, keep engine oil and transmission and brake fluids at proper levels, and get regular tune-ups to prevent a breakdown. By keeping the vehicle in working order and being aware of spatial restrictions and other unique risks, any driver can navigate a crowded area more easily.
*Photo Courtesy of Eva Rinaldi via Creative Commons License