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Driving

I must say that you don't have to be a driver to appreciate the difficulties of driving in New York City. Manhattan has far too many vehicles for far too few roads and there are many pockets of congestion throughout the day. The roads are constantly being dug up. Trade vehicles, taxis and limos are always double-parking, reducing the width and causing jams for others without much of a care in the world.

Whilst the main north or south routes, such as Fifth Avenue, usually flow quite freely outside peak times and in the mid to late evening, there's plenty of congestion in the narrower east/west lying streets throughout the day, which are essential if you want to get where you're going. Besides, what fun is there for you if you have to keep your eye on the road the whole time? Gazing-up at the Chrysler Building while behind the wheel is hardly practical.

If you're determined to hire a car, arrive early in Manhattan and leave it for the day in one of the numerous reasonably priced parking lots. Far better to be driven round either by taxi (which is an experience in itself), an open-top bus or, if you can afford it, a chauffeur. I prefer walking above all of these, but that's just me!

When the traffic does move, it's fast and furious. You'll find that everyone around you is determined to get where they are going as quickly as possible and if you show the slightest hesitation behind the wheel you'll be screamed-at, hooted at and cut-up, left right and centre. The best advice I can offer if you're going to drive regularly around the city is know EXACTLY where you are going, know the signs and rules, know the unwritten rules too and don't hang about. In other words, leave it to the locals!!!

Far better fun is to lie back and enjoy a slick, fast, furious taxi ride, especially if your destination takes you along the extreme right or left-hand edges of Manhattan: the east or west side highways. You'll be weaved in and out of the traffic Starsky and Hutch style.

Remember too that whilst you're likely to get good value from the cost of hiring a car (the main firms have desks at the airports) and the cheap fuel, you will be hit with costs such as bridge tolls for which you'd be advised to have the right change ready.

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