Negotiating New York City-specific Driving Dilemmas

You don’t need us to tell you that driving in New York City can be quite intimidating at times. Between the kamikaze cab drivers and curious cyclists, navigating the streets of this hectic city takes patience, caution and a little bit of luck. Drivers tend to move fast, zipping in an out of close quarters and leaving little room for error. As a visiting NYC rental car driver, this can seem terrifying. However, for those of us who travel the streets of the Big Apple every day, this behavior isn’t just the norm – it’s the only way to survive in the city!

You see, as an NYC native, not only do you learn how to handle crazy traffic congestion, you become a master of evasive maneuvers. Until now, no one has shared the secret to driving like a true New York resident. But now – thanks to a little insider insight from the experts at Action Car Rental – you too can drive like a local. Because, believe it or not, NYC drivers don’t actually have an issue with out-of-town drivers. We have no problem sharing the road with drivers who are alert, decisive and capable of staying calm, regardless of the situation.

Only in NYC

As with any other major American city, NYC has certain traffic regulations that differ from the norm. Knowing some of the more important ones will help you avoid hazards, better plan your commute and begin to look like a seasoned local driver in your NYC rental car.

Traffic Light Tricks to Remember

Did you know? The yellow traffic light, or warning light, is only 4 seconds long in NYC. The lesson here? When you see a light turn from green to amber, stop. And don’t believe the rumors – no true local would ever honk at you for reacting in this manner. Local drivers know there’s no use trying to run these lights. On the other hand, if you’re slow to get moving once the light turn greens, well, get ready to hear it from your fellow NYC drivers. A mere split-second delay is enough to inspire mayhem, so pay attention.

Turning and Traffic Lights

NYC rental car travelers cannot turn right on a red light. This is true not only for Manhattan traffic lights, but also for other boroughs. And no, this isn’t a suggestion. It’s the law. In the odd instance that there’s an exception, don’t worry – there will be a wordy sign in black and red letters that notifies all NYC rental car drivers that yes, “After Stop Right Turn on Red Permitted”,

You Know You’re in New York When…

From diplomats to grid lock alert days, nothing says NYC quite like odd city traffic situations. Here are three quintessential Big Apple driving scenarios you’re sure to encounter during your stay.

Dealing with Diplomats

Do yourself a favor and give diplomats a wide berth in your NYC rental car. Thanks to the United Nations, you’re practically guaranteed to run into at least one of these motorcades during your visit; in fact, there more diplomats here in New York than anywhere else in the world, even Washington DC. While diplomats are expected to obey the laws of the host country – which includes the rules of the road – there’s no guarantee. So do your best to avoid a knee-jerk reaction if you see a foreign official stretching the rules sometimes. It isn’t fair, but that really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Grid lock alert days

In New York, it is a moving violation to be stuck in the middle of intersections when the lights change. So do yourself a favor and, “don’t get caught in the grid” during your upcoming NYC rental car trip. While enforcement may be less than zealous for this infraction most of the time, it returns with a vengeance on grid lock alert days, the Fridays and special days of the Holiday Season (the period between Thanksgiving and New Year). So be smart – if you think you can make it across the intersection in your NYC rental car when the lights change, stay outside the box. If you’re already in the grid, and the light is about to change, think fast: signal and turn into the intersecting street. Believe us, looping around and picking up your original route might waste time, but it’s better than getting stuck with a massive traffic ticket.

Park head first

Finding a parking spot in NYC is like discovering a needle in a haystack. It’s a one in a million occurrence and one that you do not what to squander. So forget about parallel parking; doing so will only infuriate the people stuck behind you. To avoid angering the masses, simply pull your NYC rental car in head first. Drive into the vacant spot, briefly go up on the curb with one wheel (you’re going to have to in order to make this work) dropping the wheel down when you’re fully in the space. Straighten out. It isn’t pretty, but it works, believe you me!

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