Tips for Driving in Unfamiliar Places

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 5, 2022

Experienced Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys

Driving in strange regions may be frightening, whether you’ve just moved into a new house or are on vacation. You are likely unfamiliar with the roads and landmarks, and as you attempt to navigate through this unknown country, you may get side-tracked by trying to find your way. However, with a little planning and observance of a few key safety considerations, driving in a new city may be an exciting chance to discover a new city rather than a stressful nightmare. We’ll go over some pointers to assist you in driving in new territory further down.

COMPLETE YOUR HOMEWORK

When arranging a vacation to a new destination, take some time to investigate the best routes between the sites you wish to see in the region. You can examine the major arteries that flow through a city using navigation services like Google Maps. While this won’t make you an expert when you arrive, if you’ve done your homework, you may be able to identify the major highways as you drive about. If you flew to your location, make sure you know how to get from the airport to your hotel.

If you’re traveling across Colorado, you should learn about the toll highways you’ll encounter. Colorado has more toll highways than any other state in the US, with over 700 kilometers. If you’d rather not deal with tolls while driving a rental car, use a toll monitoring program to provide you with a total after your journey; you can then pay the rental car company or pay your tolls online. This allows your mind to concentrate on your surroundings and end goal in the present.

You may also look into other aspects of the location you’re going to, such as if the roads have a lot of bends and slopes or whether there’s a lot of animals, all of which might be dangerous at night. Some regions include road characteristics that are completely different from what you’re accustomed to, such as roundabouts or unusual highway entrance and exit layouts. If you aren’t staying with friends or family while visiting another city, you should look into the parking choices that will be most handy for you. You should also learn about local traffic laws that may vary from those in your state, particularly when it comes to car and booster seat regulations for children.

GET TO KNOW YOUR RENTAL CAR

Suppose you want to hire a car after flying to your location and attempt to secure a car similar to what you regularly drive. Although driving a large SUV or a pretty small convertible may seem to be enjoyable, driving an unusual car in an unfamiliar place might be a prescription for catastrophe. Cars with a lot of conveniences and dashboard gadgets might be difficult to drive, and you could have trouble maneuvering cars that are bigger than what you’re used to.

If you have your heart set on a brand or model of car that isn’t comparable to what you’re used to, don’t attempt to learn how to drive it on the spot. Take some time to go over all of

the features and how they function. When driving in a new place, your concentration should be on the road rather than finding out how to switch on the air conditioning or open the sunroof.

If your rental car breaks down and you get stuck, the rental car company will normally help you by collecting the car and bringing you up. Choose a AAA membership or similar roadside assistance package if you drive your car or want an added layer of safety. Keep Your Gas Tank Full

When you’re in familiar territory, you typically know where the nearest gas station is. When traveling in a new and unfamiliar location, though, you may not know where the next gas station is. Do not wait till your gas gauge is completely depleted before refueling. You never know how far away the next gas station is, particularly in remote places, so if you’re down to less than a third of a tank, start searching for a location to fill up. With today’s fuel-efficient cars, it’s usually safe to wait until your gauge reads a quarter of a tank before searching for the next handy stop.

ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO ADJUST.

Take some time to gather your bearings and acclimate to your new surroundings when you arrive in a strange area. For some folks, it may be as easy as determining which way is north. Pay attention to prominent landmarks in the region, such as churches, restaurants, tourist sites, or anything else that jumps out for individuals who like to utilize landmarks to obtain their bearings. This concentration will help you drive more easily as you spend more time in the region. Until that time comes, making a mental picture of the landmarks you pass will assist you in getting to and from your hotel, sites of interest, and crucial conference or meeting venues.

If you are staying in a hotel, you will notice that most of them include an area map in each room for their visitors’ convenience. Studying the map thoroughly can assist you in gaining your bearings and feeling more secure when driving. Don’t hesitate to ask the front desk clerk, shuttle driver, or concierge at your hotel if you need maps or instructions. They may be able to give you some helpful advice on when to visit specific locations and how to get there.

MAKE USE OF A GPS, BUT DON’T RELY ON IT.

Positioning systems (GPS) GPS devices are fantastic tools for navigating from one location to another, but they may also be a distraction when driving. Make sure you’re not fiddling with your radio or focusing too much on your GPS while driving; driver distraction is a leading cause of accidents on Colorado highways. When driving in a remote location, you won’t be able to rely on your GPS, so if you’re going with another person, have your passenger guide for you. Also, research your route before leaving for a certain destination so you know where you’re headed if your GPS loses service.

It’s also vital to remember that a GPS might be inaccurate at times or that its maps haven’t been updated. It may not alert you to real-time traffic, road construction, or other potential dangers along your trip. Following your GPS blindly might lead to serious or even catastrophic mishaps.

Allow for additional time.

Allow additional time to get there if you have dinner reservations, a performance, a conference, or any other event with a fixed start time. In your haste to get to your destination, you may break traffic regulations such as speeding or following too closely behind another car. Even by a few miles per hour, slowing down provides you a greater chance of seeing landmarks, reading traffic signs, identifying crossroads, and avoiding collisions.

Furthermore, if you get into an accident, get pulled over by the police, or miss a vital turn or exit and have to retrace, speeding along unknown roads may cost you extra time. You want to keep up with the traffic, but other drivers will understand if you slow down a little if you remain in the right lane and allow them to pass you when the chance comes.

AVOID MAKING HASTY CHANGES

When traveling in an unknown region, it’s fairly unusual to miss a turn or exit. You may see where you want to go and attempt to change lanes rapidly, turn quickly, slam on your brakes, or engage in other potentially dangerous movements. Above all, avoid doing an illegal U- turn or backing up on the road’s shoulder. Go around the block or to the next exit and turn around to keep yourself, your passengers, and others safe. If you’re using a GPS, it’ll make the necessary changes to your route.

DON’T DRIVE IF YOU’VE HAD TOO MUCH TO DRINK.

People often visit an unknown place, whether on vacation or at work. It’s simple to drink a few beers, cocktails, or glasses of wine while enjoying a romantic supper or negotiating a business transaction in this setting. When you mix alcohol with unknown circumstances, though, you increase your chances of being pulled over by the cops since you’re more likely to make erratic movements when you don’t know where you’re going and have been drinking. If you want to drink alcohol while visiting a new place, use public transit, rideshare, or take a cab.

TAKE A BREAK FOR DIRECTIONS.

Drivers who became lost stopped to ask people for directions long before smartphones and Google Maps. Even with today’s technology, it’s okay to pause and inquire. You may be forced to do so in rural coastal and central Colorado regions, where mobile phone and GPS signals are few. Before you become too lost, locate the nearest travel center, gas station, or small restaurant to stop and ask for directions. The majority of convenience shop personnel, other passengers, and rest area employees will gladly help you.

TURN SIGNALS SHOULD BE USED

Because they are so concentrated on finding out where they are going while driving a rental car in a strange place, drivers may forget to use their turn signal. Always use your turn signals to let other drivers know when you’re turning or changing lanes. You may also tap your brakes to indicate that you’re ready to stop. Furthermore, some road signs are difficult to see until you are near them, so you may need to slow down the first time you discover your turn. To prevent an accident, make sure other drivers are aware of this.

AVOID TRAVELING DURING PEAK HOURS

Traveling at rush hour or during periods of heavy traffic can add to the frustration of driving in a new place. In certain circumstances, high traffic makes it difficult to safely locate your turn or exit. When attempting to locate a certain company or destination, you also need to pay careful attention to traffic, which isn’t always simple during rush hour. Avoid traveling at peak travel hours to avoid the extra stress of heavy traffic. Although you may not be able to escape traffic entirely, try your best to avoid visiting a new place during rush hour.

BREAKS ARE NECESSARY.

Take a break if you’re driving for an extended amount of time, especially if you’re feeling concerned about driving in a new region. It’s also a good idea to come to a halt after heavy rain. Furthermore, you may not need or choose to drive everywhere on your vacation. You might use public transit, hail a car from a ridesharing service, or walk. Changing your mode of transportation allows you to avoid the traffic and unfamiliarity that comes with driving in a new area.

IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN COLORADO SPRINGS, YOU SHOULD HIRE A LOCAL ATTORNEY.

It might be frightening to drive in a new city or town on unknown roads, but it doesn’t have to be. A strange region may rapidly become familiar if you are prepared, concentrate on driving properly, and avoid distractions. Because you cannot control the activities of other drivers on the road, you may still be involved in a car accident even if you drive cautiously.

Suppose you have been injured in a car accident in the Colorado Springs region. In that case, you should contact a local car accident lawyer right away for help with your injury claim. Colorado’s no-fault insurance regulations and mandatory medical payments covering MedPay plans make car accident lawsuits more complicated.

Whether you live in Colorado Springs, out-of-state, or anywhere else in the state, after you make an insurance claim, a local attorney can handle the intricacies of your case. Your attorney will collect witness testimonies, submit appropriate paperwork, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight your case in court if necessary, in addition to researching your accident. To book a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers, call Warrior Car Accident Lawyers at 719-300-1100 or contact us online.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-300-1100

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