Urban Driving
City Driving Hazards

City Driving Hazards: The Challenges of Navigating Urban Roads

Updated April 23, 2019

There are few driving environments more challenging than busy, urban areas. When driving in the city, you must safely share the road with all kinds of traffic and pedestrians, including walkers, cyclists, cars, school buses, delivery vehicles and emergency response vehicles. In addition, you will be dealing with a wide variety of obstacles and traffic control devices. There is so much information to process while driving in the city, hazards are often overlooked.

From one city block to the next, traffic laws, speed limits, road width and the direction of traffic can change completely. Being aware of the risks associated with city driving will help you to remain vigilant and avoid dangerous mistakes. Even a short drive across town could expose you to all the hazards listed here:

  1. 1

    Sudden changes in road width,driving rulesorspeed limits. Always keep an eye on traffic signs and do not assume you know the rules.

  2. 2

    Uneven or damaged road surfaces caused by high volumes of traffic. In particularly high-traffic areas, authorities struggle to conduct essential road repairs.

  3. 3

    Frequent intersections which require stop-start driving and increase the risk of being involved in a collision.

  4. 4

    Frequently being required to cross several lanes of traffic whenturning,mergingor exiting a road.

  5. 5

    Peopleparked along the streetmay open their driver’s side door, blocking your view or creating a hazard.

  6. 6

    Drivers become frustrated and journeys are extended by stop-and-go traffic.

  7. 7

    Drivers may display impatience or road rage when stuck in traffic. Altercations over parking spaces are common.

  8. 8

    Vehicles may suddenly pull out of blind alleyways or driveways.

  9. 9

    Delivery personnel may walk in front or behind your vehicle, while unloading or loading their trucks.

  10. 10

    Pedestrians may step into the street at unexpected times, rather than waiting to cross legally at an intersection.

  11. 11

    Distracting sounds and sights, such as billboards, traffic signals andcar hornswhich will detract your attention from driving.

It is easy to see how driving in the city can be a little overwhelming for novice drivers. Fortunately, we are here to make sure you are fully-prepared for the challenge. Working through the “City Driving” section of our drivers ed course will arm you with the skills and knowledge necessary to deal with hazardous city driving situations. We discuss this further in our next section, “City Driving Strategies”.

Would you pass a driving test today?

Find out with our free quiz!

TAKE A FREE TEST

Like the article? Give us 5 points!

Click a star to add your vote

5.0 out of 5 stars based on 2 votes.

Up next

Urban Driving Strategies
Urban Driving 3 of 5

City Driving Strategies

With so many other road users and hazards to contend with, driving in the city can be stressful and dangerous. Safe city driving relies on your ability to spot hazards and react to them appropriately. With appropriate training, you can make sure you always have time to avoid an accident.

Dealing with Traffic Jams
Urban Driving 4 of 5

Dealing with Congested Traffic

City traffic is at its worst during early morning and late afternoon rush hours. Maintaining a safe space around your vehicle is practically impossible during these high-congestion periods. In this situation, you can expect traffic to be moving extremely slowly and stopping often. Vigilance is the key to preventing gridlock.

Driving Through Construction & Work Zones
Urban Driving 5 of 5

Driving Through Construction Zones

While driving in the city, you may encounter construction zones or detours marked out with warning signs and signaling devices. These are in place to guide road users and pedestrians safely around the work zone. Always reduce your speed when approaching a construction or maintenance area on the road, as there may be workers moving around on foot.

Review
Sharing The Road With Other Road Users 11 of 13

Sharing the Road with Trains

Vehicle-train collisions are often catastrophic. Drivers must know the tremendous risk they subject themselves to when trying to beat a train to a crossing or drive around protective gates. Understand the risks and avoid injury at railway crossings.

Sharing The Road With Other Road Users 12 of 13

Railroad Crossing Safety Rules

Crossing railway lines is incredibly dangerous, as the sheer size and weight of trains means that motorists will always come off worse in a vehicle-train collision. Do not take chances or engage in risky behavior around railway-highway intersections. In these situations, impatience or poor concentration could cost you your life – not to mention the lives of your passengers.

Sharing The Road With Other Road Users 13 of 13

Animals on the Road

Drivers must keep a lookout for wild, domestic or farm animals crossing the roadway, particularly in rural areas. When a yellow, diamond-shaped animal warning sign is present, remain alert and drive with caution. Should you encounter a herd of animals crossing the road, stop your vehicle and allow them to cross. Only when the animals have completely cleared the highway should you proceed.

Driving In Different Environments 1 of 2

Driving in Different Environments

Mastering vehicle control is not the only battle you will face while learning to drive. Student drivers must learn to adjust their driving behavior and new-found vehicle control skills to suit different driving environments and mitigate the risks which accompany them. The type and level of danger you are exposed to while driving can change dozens of times over in a single, short journey.

Driving In Different Environments 2 of 2

Risk in Driving Environments

The challenges you face when driving depend heavily on the type of road you are using and whether that road is in an urban or rural environment. As part of your driver's training, you must learn to identify the risks linked to each driving environment and act preemptively to avoid danger. Different driving environments fall into one of four graded risk classifications: controlled, low, moderate and complex.

Urban Driving 1 of 5

Driving in The City

New drivers often do not realize what a challenge city driving can pose. You may not be traveling at high speeds when driving around a busy, metropolitan area, but you will none-the-less be afforded very little time to spot and react to hazardous situations. It is very easy to become distracted and make dangerous mistakes while driving alongside so many other motorists, pedestrians, buses, delivery vans and cyclists, in such close quarters.