Let’s be real – driving in Waterloo is far different from driving in downtown Toronto. Learning to maneuver in the jungle of sky-rises and concrete can often be a skill, and one that drivers shouldn’t soon forget. Many of us drive frequently through the city, while others would prefer to simply stay away. Whatever the case might be for you, it’s important to remember the skill of how to drive in the city, so you can be prepared to maneuver whenever needed.

We’ve compiled a few tips on downtown driving that you can reference to keep yourself composed (and get to your destination) with ease and safety.

Here are 5 tips on how to drive in the city:

1. Remember – always plan ahead.
If you use your car GPS or navigation, or perhaps you use Google to determine how long it will take to get to your destination, it is so important to plan ahead. Highway access might be closed or busy with traffic, and rush hour can certainly impact your travel time. Rush hour in Toronto is busiest from 7AM to 9AM and 4PM to about 6:30PM, which means that travel during this time period is often unpredictable.

2. Stay calm (especially under pressure).
We love driving in Waterloo and surrounding areas (don’t you?) – yet downtown driving can cause a few grey hairs in the process. Most importantly, it’s important to stay calm and composed as you’re behind the wheel. A GPS in your vehicle when you drive in the city can be a huge help to determine where traffic is and areas that you need to avoid

3. Prepare for the unexpected. 
There’s so much going on in the city – you’re never sure where the taxis are, ubers are turning right, other drivers are turning left. Cyclists are also everywhere, which means they can be unpredictable on the road. Before you go through any intersection or make any turn, be sure to shoulder check (as you should anywhere).

4. Consider the size of your vehicle. 
We’ll be honest – driving a massive pick-up won’t do well within the city. Compact cars will do best within the city, like the Civic or the CR-V. You’ll also realize how much money you can save with a compact car while driving in the city.

5. Don’t forget to pay for parking! 
Don’t be surprised that you’ll need to pay for parking everywhere. Meters, parkades and lots will require some form of payment. Don’t leave your car just anywhere!

When driving downtown, it’s important to remember to stay calm, plan ahead and consider the vehicle you’re driving. Although we might not drive through the city regularly, these tips will help you be a more confident driver within the city.