Due to the busy nature of downtown, driving there can be hectic at times so here are a few tips to help you out. Many downtown cores have one way streets. Usually if you encounter a cross street in one direction, chances are the flow of traffic at the next cross street will be in the opposite direction. In other words, they alternate. Now this is not a rule so the best way to make sure about the direction of traffic is to check for the one way street signs posted. We talked about one way streets in another video so be sure to check it out.
In addition, there is usually more pedestrians crossing at crosswalk and sidewalks so you need to scan carefully before making turns or going through intersections. Also scan parked cars as they can pull away without signalling and pedestrians can decide to jaywalk.
Now on one way streets you can usually park on either side of the road. However if you choose to parallel park on the left side, know that when you come to leave the parking spot, you may have hard time seeing the traffic on the road using your right side mirror, specially if there is a vehicle parked behind you. So take that into account before opting for parallel parking on the left side. However, it’s not a bad practice to perform parallel park on the left hand side as your perspective will be different even though the fundamentals of the parking maneuver stay the same.
If you’re driving in downtown at night time there is a chance you will encounter drunk jaywalkers. Be on the lookout and prepare to stop if need be. As usually if you see people approaching a crosswalk or you see another vehicle slowing down or stopping at a crosswalk, prepare to stop.
And much like our video on rush hour driving, always be looking well ahead to see if you traffic is getting backed up on the other side of the intersection. If it is think about if you enter the intersection will you be able to clear it not. If you have doubt as to whether or not you’ll be able to clear the intersection, you should decide to stop behind the stop line until such that there is enough room for you to proceed.
Now, in some downtown cores, you may find lanes that change their direction of traffic depending on the time of day. The reason this is done is to allow a more efficient traffic flow into and out of the city core during peak travel times. So be on the look out for lane control signals and abide accordingly.
Essentially when you go into downtown, go into high alert mode. This is really not the time to be engaging in a lengthy discussion with your passenger or turning up your music full blast. Driving in downtown really does require your undivided attention.