Driving can be a stressful activity even at the best of times. But city driving in particular can be a source of stress for many – and becoming even more so, as recent statistics suggest that road rage is on the increase. But what can you do personally to make city driving safer and less stressful?
Plan Your Route
Route planning can go a very long way when it comes to reducing trip-related stress. Whether you are completely new to the city in which you’re driving. or you happen to know it like the back of your hand, setting out your route in advance – road by road – can help you dispel any nerves you may have. You may also be able to uncover some useful shortcuts, which can help you avoid congested or stressful areas of town.
Avoid Rush Hour
Speaking of congestion, rush hour can have a transformative effect on the business of city roads – and consequently, on your levels of comfort in navigating them. With roads blocked up by morning and evening commuters alike, it can be hard to find space for yourself in the traffic – and harder for you to make your trip in a timely fashion.
To reduce the stress induced by high-traffic scenarios, and the risk of arriving late, you should endeavour to plan your trips around rush hour. In driving ‘off-peak’, you can make use of quieter roads to complete your journey, limiting your contact with other aggravated drivers and ensuring you can make your appointment.
Choose a Suitable City Car
As much as planning and driving habits can help you make urban driving a much more comfortable endeavour, sometimes it is not those that are the problem. Your car itself could be utterly unsuited for the task of city driving.
Larger estate cars and SUVs are popular for the internal size they offer to professionals and families alike, with SUVs also popular for increasing road stature. But their size can make them harder to navigate around tighter roads, and even harder to park in small spaces when it comes to roadside parking. A car suited for urban driving might be more compact and more nimble; used Audis in London are a particularly good choice, with the hatchback models especially tuned for urban driving. Their parking assistance technology makes stopping much more convenient, also.
Lastly, there are some behavioural changes you can make to your driving to improve your confidence, and drive safer too. You should make an effort to ‘drive deliberately’; that is, to drive with an active focus on your car and the road around you. With new Highway Code changes enshrining a hierarchy of road users, it’s more important than ever to be aware of other pedestrians and cyclists – especially when turning into a junction. To facilitate this kind of driving, you should turn your music or radio off to concentrate better.