CITY DRIVING TIPS
Always check your mirrors regularly in heavy city traffic.
Other cars and vehicles may suddenly swap lanes. If you need to change lanes, remember to check blind spots – especially for cyclists – by glancing quickly over your shoulder.
Keep a 2 second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you in stop-start traffic.
You might need to brake suddenly. To work out a 2 second gap, use landmarks like a road sign or parked car, and count 2 seconds from the point the car in front passes it. You should pass the landmark at 2 seconds. In wet weather, you should allow 4 seconds.1
If you can, avoid rush hours.
The higher volume of traffic means you could be sitting in jams for long periods of time. Apps that give you city traffic news and real-time updates can be helpful.
Don’t slow the flow of traffic.
Observe speed limits in cities but don’t crawl as it can cause unnecessary delays and irritate others road users. Maintaining a steady speed can also help save you fuel and reduce maintenance costs.
Older European cities often have narrow roads.
Know the width of your car and be prepared to mount the pavement slowly if you need extra space. If you can, fold in your wing mirrors.
Many major cities don’t allow cars with high emissions at certain times.
Turn off your engine to save fuel when you’re stationary and put on the handbrake.
If your car has a start-stop system, even better.
Watch out for parking restrictions and time limits.
City parking inspectors can be quick to hand out a ticket.
Keep a bit of change handy.
Some cities have congestion charges or other tolls.
Be patient, city traffic can be very slow.
Drivers in Berlin, for example, clock an average speed2 of 15mph (24.2 km/h).
SPRING CAR CHECK
OnStar can help you get your car spring ready by running a health check on the key operating systems of your vehicle. And you can read your latest diagnostics report by logging into your account.
It’s also worth checking your battery and whether you need new brake pads and discs, wiper blades and a replacement air filter. And don’t forget fluids; be sure to check your oil and windscreen wiper solution.
If you fitted winter tyres, it’s time to change them. Even if you didn’t, be sure to check your tyre pressures (including the spare) and check tread levels, keeping an eye out for signs of wear and cuts or bulges in the sidewall – this could mean the tyre is damaged.3 Damaged tyres reduce control, increase braking distances and make your chances of skidding more likely. You’ll also use more fuel if your tyre pressures are low.4
We all tend to wash our cars less in the winter. So when spring arrives, head to the car wash to get rid of all that grime and road salt. Road salt can build up over the winter, causing rust and corrosion, so you need to remove it, especially from underneath your vehicle in those hidden-away places.5 If you’re doing it yourself, add a little baking soda to the water to neutralise the salt and save your paint work. Inside, use a gentle cleaner on seats and wash your floor mats.