Last week, we reviewed highway driving habits. This week, let’s review some city driving issues. City driving is generally done at a much slower pace due to traffic lights, stop signs, and crosswalks. Over the past twenty years, as city traffic has increased, we have all noticed that many people do not take these three traffic control measures as seriously as they have in the past. This has increased the danger for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Here are some reminders for each …
- Traffic lights: If the traffic light turns yellow as you are approaching, and you can stop before reaching the intersection, you should do so.
- Stop signs: Come to a full stop and look both ways before proceeding.
- Crosswalks: If pedestrians are waiting to cross, you must stop and let them.
Following the rules will probably make your trip across town a bit longer, but everyone will be safer along the way.
There are also items that fall into the category of courtesy, but can also cause safety concerns …
- Turn signal usage: You should begin to signal about 100 feet before you reach the point where you wish to make a turn. No one wants to be stuck behind someone waiting to make a turn because the person failed to signal early enough.
- Stop before the crosswalk: When approaching a crosswalk or intersection, you should stop before the crosswalk, not in the middle of it. This will allow the pedestrians—who have the right of way—to cross safely.
Until the traffic engineers learn how to properly “time” the traffic lights, traffic may never flow smoothly in the city. Two things we can do to help are signaling our turns and being ready when the traffic light changes to green. These two items will allow the most vehicles to pass through the intersection on each green light cycle.
There are significant differences between city and freeway driving, and many more ways to improve traffic flow on the highway as compared to the city. That does not mean we should abandon our city driving habits. For everyone’s safety, we need to work extra hard to bring our city driving skills up to where they should be.