Driving in New York City can be a nerve racking affair for someone who is not used to driving on congested streets with grid locked traffic. There are certain specific driving and parking rules that are to be followed while you drive in New York City.
Parking and Driving Rules
1) No right turns on a red light – In New York City it is illegal to make a right turn on a red light after a full stop though this is allowed in other US cities.
2) Don’t Honk until it’s absolutely necessary – Honking is generally frowned upon in New York City and even more so in a hospital zone. Do watch out for signs indicating this.
3) Prevent Car Theft – Don’t leave any valuables on seats when you park your car on a city street. If you must leave something in your car, be sure to lock it in the car boot.
4) Alternate Side Parking Rules – On certain days of the week, the streets of the city need to be cleaned. On those days parking has to be on the opposite side of the street. Signs are posted with a broom sign on the days the streets are scheduled to be cleaned and on those days you have to move your car or risk being ticketed. You can get this information from the city’s information service 311 or from local radio and TV stations. For information on the days and dates when parking rules are suspended, visit http://home.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/scrintro.shtml.
5) Parking near a fire hydrant – It is illegal to park within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant in New York City and when looking for parking space on the street you should be cognizant of this fact.
6) Double parking is not allowed – Though many delivery trucks tend to double park on New York City streets as they make their deliveries it is illegal to do so.
7) Respect Bus Lanes – You have to respect bus lanes and it is illegal to park adjacent to a bus stop in New York City.
8) Seat Belts Compulsory – You have to ‘buckle up’ before you drive in New York City.
9) No Handheld Cell Phones – You can’t hold a cell phone and drive in the city. If you must talk on the phone, you must use a hands-free device.
10) Driving when drunk – Drinking and driving is a serious offence and if you plan to drink you should plan to use public transport or a have a sober designated driver for the evening.
11) If you are driving with a young child,the child must be seated and strapped in an appropiate car seat located on the rear seat of the vehicle.
All these infringements result in hefty fines and tickets as well as points on your license and detailed information on all these rules is available on the NYCDOT website at: http://home.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/traffic_rules.shtml.
If you are involved in a major car accident where there is significant damage and injury, it is customary to first call 911, the city’s emergency hot line before you call anybody else. However if it is a minor accident like a scrape then you have to make sure you get the other party’s insurance details as you supply your own. You can attempt to settle the issue yourself but if you are going to involve the insurance company you should also put a call into your insurance supplier as soon as possible and inform them of the incident. Keep in mind that often insurance companies do often ask for police reports. You normally have to move the car as soon as you can even if you are putting in a claim. Insurance companies are equipped with surveyors who are extremely well versed with various types of accidents and can easily recreate an accident scenario when they are examining a car for an accident claim.