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How To Tackle Driving In City Traffic

For some people, the thought of driving through city traffic is their worst nightmare.

The standstill traffic, pedestrians and stop-start movements combined with the business of the surroundings and reliance on clutch control can be daunting to new drivers. However, as with all driving skills, it becomes much easier with practice.

These top tips can be learnt quickly by anyone and will help you become a safer and more competent driver.

Keep your focus

It’s incredibly easy to lose focus and become distracted when you’re sat in traffic.

Thoughts such as ‘I am not going to be moving any time soon so I shall reply to a text message’ can result in you losing your attention on the road and conditions around you.

Even if you are not moving and stuck in traffic, always keep your focus on your surroundings.


Clutch control will be heavily relied upon when driving in heavy traffic. Unless your handbrake is on, you must keep your foot on the brake pedal.

A great number of road users lose concentration, allowing their foot to slip off the brake, resulting in them rolling forward into the car in front.

It is also not uncommon for drivers to lift their clutch slightly too much, which means they then stall the car.

This leads to panic as the traffic starts moving around them or the traffic light turns green.

Keeping your focus is vital both to save frustration from other road users, and because of the sheer amount of additional hazards that are around you when you are driving in a busy city.

Always remain on the lookout for potential hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, moped riders and other vulnerable road users.

Plan parking

You will always have to park your car when you arrive at your destination. Although parking isn’t necessarily driving, it is still a task that requires a little research, especially if you are visiting a city for the first time. Give yourself additional time at the end of your journey for parking, especially in case your first choice of parking spot is not available.

There are apps available that can help you locate parking spots that are especially useful if you are not sure of the best places to park.

City roads are full of yellow lines and traffic wardens regularly patrol the streets, so don’t take the risk of parking somewhere you shouldn’t.

Cities also have a higher crime rate than other areas, so ensure you keep your car safe by removing valuables, selecting a car park that is well lit, and consider buying a steering wheel lock to deter potential thieves.

Choose your lane in advance

When approaching a roundabout make sure you are aware of which lane you need to be in and enter that lane as soon as is safely possible.

If you find yourself in the wrong lane, you will hold other traffic up as you wait for a driver to stop to allow you to change lanes.

If you find yourself in the wrong lane the safest thing to do is to continue to follow the roundabout in the lane you are in, then turn around when it is safe to do so to continue your original route.

Be aware of bus lanes


Cities are full of bus lanes or bus only routes. Familiarise yourself with the rules surrounding bus lanes.

In some cities, you are allowed to use the bus lane during rush hour to help ease congestion. In other cities, simply entering a bus lane for a moment can result in a fine dropping through your letterbox.

Remain aware of the markings on the roads and look out for road signs that will inform you of the rules surrounding each bus lane.

Try to avoid peak times

If you work 9-5 it is impossible for you to avoid peak times when travelling. However, if you have a bit more flexibility, alter your plans to try and avoid the busiest times on the road.

When taking driving lessons, if you book during rush hour, chances are you will waste most of the lesson stuck in traffic.

Whilst driving in heavy traffic is an important skill to learn, if you are just starting out taking lessons it is advisable to avoid rush hour when there is a heavy volume of cars on the road.

Watch your speed

Built-up areas have speed limits of either 20 or 30mph. Keep an eye out for speed signs to ensure you are not exceeding the limit.

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