How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

Cities are unbelievably frustrating to drive in. Luckily, Jalopnik readers know ten tricks for enjoying an automobile, even when you're living in urban car hell.

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There are lots of ways to enjoy driving in the city. Some of them take some creativity, and a few cost a lot of money. Not everyone can afford a weekend-only car, or weekly trips to trackdays. We've stuck with relatively simple tips that you can do, no matter what car you have. Well, we also have a little buying advice for when you do spring for a new ride.

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How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

10.) Be Patient

Driving in the city means traffic jams, getting cut off, getting re-routed around construction, and generally being screwed completely at every possible opportunity. Take a deep breath. Getting mad is not going to get you anywhere faster. Calm down, drive confidently and efficiently, and learn patience.

Suggested By: Brian, The Life of
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

9.) Commute Avoiding Rush Hour

Even if it means getting up an hour or two earlier, sometimes it's worth it to lose sleep to skip rush hour. When you're bleary-eyed at your desk at six in the morning, think about all the sad saps stuck bumper-to-bumper. Then catch a nap in the break room.

Suggested By: westford86
Photo Credit: Steven List


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

8.) Survey The Area Where You're Commuting

When you start a new commute, go and scout out the whole area around your work. Figure out when everything gets crowded, where you can get free parking, what spots are closest to your building, and what parts are sketchy as hell that you should avoid.

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Photo Credit: Lisa Moffatt


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

7.) Play The Parallel Parking Game

Parallel parking can be a chore, but you can also look at it as the last skill level to be unlocked in the real-world driving video game that is your life. Go around and try and find the smallest possible space, and try and slot your car in there.

Then, when your friends fail at parallel parking, you will feel like a god.

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Photo Credit: Marcus Hansson


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

6.) Befriend A Mechanic

First of all, having a mechanic you can trust is the best way to keep a cool car while living in the city. Secondly, befriending a mechanic means you might be able to go over after hours and wrench on your car yourself (so long as your bring beer). For serious car enthusiasts, having no garage space of your own is one of the worst parts of urban living.

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Photo Credit: christoph.schrey


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

5.) Learn The ‘Secret' Fast Routes

There's a lot more to a city than just what the map tells you. Finding the best streets for crossing town at any and all times of day is like knowing secret cheat codes in real life. And nothing is as satisfying as breezing through green light after green light while other drivers sit in traffic.

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Photo Credit: felix.castor


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

4.) Get A Small Car

There's something glorious about steering a full-size pickup through city streets, or hearing your V8 muscle car echo through alleyways, but the perfect city car is something small and nippy that slots into gap in traffic. We'd recommend a Fiat 500 Abarth.

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Photo Credit: Anthony M


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

3.) Get Your Work To Pay For Off-Street Parking

Everyone agrees that parking off the street is an extremely high priority if you want to enjoy your car in a city. Try and negotiate your employer to subsidize a parking garage space. It will keep your mind off of paying regular garage fees.

If you can't get work to comp off-street parking, you should pay for a garage space anyway.

Suggested By: bainelaker
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

2.) Try Autocross

You might have a good time blitzing from stoplight to stoplight for a while, but you'll find a lot more fun at a local autocross. Check the SCCA – there are courses set up in parking lots in every city in the country. Every second you spend on the limit erases one traffic jam's worth of stress.

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Photo Credit: Drew Stephens


How To Enjoy Your Car In The City

1.) Take Early Morning Drives

Sometimes the best way to enjoy a car in the city is to get out of the city. Get up early in the morning, or get out very late at night. The roads will be empty in the city and leading out into the hinterlands. You'll have a great drive.

When you get back into town, you'll have a justification for your garage bills and your hours spent in gridlock.

Suggested By: Earthbound and Down
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove