Driving in New York City

September 13, 2023
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Driving in New York City is difficult, but manageable with the right awareness and preparation.

Driving in New York City is extremely chaotic. It is intimidating with how many pedestrians are around and other cars are on the road. It is expensive with the costs of parking and gas adding up. It is also entirely rare for one to drive around the city. It is a very walkable city, with access to large public transportation systems like buses and the subway, as well as a prominent taxi network. Additionally, in this day and age, there are countless ride-sharing companies in the city, as well as bike and scooter sharing with things like Citi bikes and Lime/Bird scooters. With that said, if you still ultimately decide you want to drive around the city, there are many key things you must know that make driving in NYC a bit different than driving elsewhere.

Pay Attention to Road Signs

In New York City, there are a lot of unique driving rules. Oftentimes, these are advertised with traffic signs, but they can often still go unnoticed if you are not aware to look for the different signs. For example, some of the major intersections do not allow left turns during certain hours of the day. This is one of the unusual rules implemented to help limit congestion.

Be Aware of Tolls

As is the case with much of the East Coast, toll roads are commonly seen here. The tolls can range in price but tend to be quite expensive. Tolls are especially unavoidable on certain routes, like going from New Jersey to New York (or vice versa). In the modern day, many toll boxes are cashless now, so they allow the E-ZPass to pass through and automatically pay, otherwise, a bill is sent to the address your vehicle is registered to. Some bridges are actually toll-less though, so it is important to remember which is a toll and which isn’t. The biggest bridges that are toll-free are the Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge.

Avoid Excessive Honking

While you may picture New York City driving as loud, full of shouting and honking, there are actually laws in place keeping this at bay. Excessive and unnecessary honking is illegal in the city and can result in a fine of up to $350.

Look Out for Pedestrians

Pedestrians tend to be bold in most major cities, and New York City is definitely no exception. They will frequently jaywalk, sometimes even walking through cars. It is incredibly important to be aware of your surroundings and keep watch for pedestrians when driving.

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