Safe driving requires complete alertness and awareness of your surroundings. This is much easier to do when you’re driving in an area that’s familiar to you. When you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, it can be challenging to try to watch the road and read street signs at the same time.
When you’re trying to navigate an unfamiliar area, you may not only have to cope with the stress of trying to figure out where you are but also have to deal with other drivers who exhibit aggression or impatience at your signs of confusion or hesitation. This type of setting can greatly increase the risk of being involved in an auto accident.
Prepare Yourself to Visit an Unfamiliar City
Before you travel to an unfamiliar city, you may want to try to learn what you can about the city you are going to. See what you can do to familiarize yourself with the area. If you study a map of the city, you can get an idea of the most prominent landmarks which may help you to keep your bearings in heavy traffic. For a more rural area, get an idea about the roads and if you’ll need to deal with curvy roads or a lot of hills.
Try to find out ahead of time about parking options. Does the place you’re traveling to have its own parking lot or a nearby parking garage, or will you have to plan to park on the street? Consider whether you might need to bring cash for toll roads or parking meters.
If You Get Lost
In an unfamiliar area, there’s a chance you’ll miss an important turn or somehow get completely off-track. If you realize you missed your turn, stay calm. Keep driving with the flow of traffic to the next exit or the next place that it’s safe to pull over so you can try to determine where you need to go next. Avoid turning quickly, which could endanger you or your passengers.
It’s a good idea to be ready for the possibility your GPS could fail or won’t alert you to blocked roads or new construction. You may want to keep a road map in the car or be prepared to ask people at a store or gas station for directions.
Other Tips for Traveling Safely
It’s possible to stay safe while driving in unfamiliar areas as long as you drive carefully and responsibly. Some other tips to keep in mind while traveling include:
- No matter where you drive, it’s important to know and follow the rules of the road. This includes staying within posted speed limits and knowing whether you can turn right on red. Use headlights in poor lighting and be sure to use turn signals so other drivers have an idea what you’re trying to do.
- Make sure your car is in top running condition. Have a mechanic check for potential mechanical problems or worn tires before you travel.
- An easier solution to driving in an unfamiliar area is to not drive at all. Consider taking advantage of public transportation rather than risk having an accident while driving. Large cities almost always have a city bus or use ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft.
Don’t Forget to Drive!
Don’t get so focused on looking for a sign, or the turn, that you forget to pay attention to your driving skills. Use your mirrors and stay aware of pedestrians and other vehicle traffic on the road. Make sure you continue a visual scan of the roadway. Getting there safely remains the most important task for a driver!
If You Get in a Car Accident While Traveling
No matter how careful you are while traveling, you may get into an accident, particularly with drivers who are impatient or aggressive. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s aggression or negligence, it’s important to talk to an expert in the field of personal injury law.
Taos Injury Lawyers want to help. Fill out our contact form on this page and a member of our legal team will get back to you very soon to set up a consultation.