The experience of owning a car and driving in the city for the first time can be particularly frustrating, especially if you’re used to living in the suburbs or even the country. It seems like drivers play by different rules and responsibilities change. If you’re not careful, you can end up paying much more than you expect, dealing with stalls and dead ends, or even causing damage or an accident. It’s a good idea to know exactly what’s involved in city driving.
If you’re living in the city, then you’re going to need to consider a real city car. Your old 4×4 might not be the most practical choice, anymore. Choices like the Citroen C1 are great for taking tight parking spaces and being relatively easy on the wallet in the long-run. There are a few things you want to prioritise in particular: size, responsiveness, reliability, and costs.
Do the math
We’ll get into those costs a bit more. When you’re looking at buying a car, make sure you find out not just the usual MPG but specifically the city MPG. You also want to choose a car that’s more reliable and less likely to need repairs. City mechanics are more expensive and if your car breaks down, then the costs of getting it to the garage can be surprisingly high. Learn a few fuel-saving techniques for the car, as well. City driving consumes more fuel; there’s no way of getting around that. But you can make plenty of steps to keep it as well stocked as possible.
Protect yourself and your neighbours
There are more risks when it comes to owning a car in the city. Even when you’re not driving. Many city streets are built on hills, so wheel stops might be necessary to protect your vehicle from rolling out of your parking space and into your neighbour’s car. But perhaps the greatest increase in risk is down to the risk of theft. GPS trackers, highly visible alarms, and steering wheel locks are all examples of modifications worth investing in if you don’t want your car to be an easy target.
Get used to the roads
The roads can be much more dangerous while you’re not used to them, too. Getting confused can have you heading down the wrong way on a one-way street or taking a turn when you shouldn’t. Spend plenty of time with a high-quality sat-nav and practice driving when the roads are a little empty, learning your usual routes. In particular, practice defensive driving and become especially watchful of taxis, cyclists, and parked cars, which can become a risk in a matter of moments to those who aren’t paying attention to a car braking or a door on a stopped vehicle opening.
Whether you’re moving, staying in the city for some time, or taking a one-stop trip, it pays to be aware of the differences between the city and everything outside it. The longer you’re there, the more you’ll get used to the idiosyncrasies of your fellow drivers. It’s that first bumpy period you have to be ready for.