New York Car Rentals and Driving in Manhattan

Manhattan is by far one of the busiest boroughs in NYC, which makes navigating traffic in your New York car rental a little tricky! Getting across Midtown is never easy with road construction and distracted drivers, so we here at AAMCAR Discount Car Rentals have put together a page with helpful driving tips for braving the busy streets of Manhattan.

Rules of the Road

Driving through Manhattan for the first time in your New York car rental is sure to be an intense experience. Ordered chaos is what awaits you at most intersections, while at others you’ll find pure pandemonium! Rules that most people take for granted when driving, like yielding at yellow lights, or signaling before making a turn, don’t seem to apply to many Manhattan drivers, (especially taxi cabs!), resulting, most often, in the morning commute from hell! The best way to avoid being cut off by impatient or angry motorists in high volume traffic areas like Times Square or the Rockefeller Center, is to stay alert and avoid distractions. People who attempt to multi-task while maneuvering through Manhattan traffic, (examples include attempting to apply makeup and eating breakfast) are most likely seasoned New York City drivers, so DO NOT attempt to duplicate their actions! To avoid unsafe situations remember to avoid tailgating, allowing at least a cars length between your New York car rental and surrounding vehicles. Remember that signaling a turn or lane change in Manhattan seems to be an unpopular commodity, so always be prepared for sudden stops and unexpected traffic congestion.

Safety and Prevention

When traveling through Manhattan in your New York car rental, always be sure to wear your safety belt since buckling up will help prevent injury in the case of an accident. If the flow of traffic is heavy which it normally is, stay calm and travel at an appropriate speed. A good rule of thumb when driving through Manhattan is to leave at least one hour early for any scheduled appointment. Traffic congestion can strike at any moment due to accidents, construction or weather, so make sure to leave a good cushion of travel time available. When traffic jams do occur make sure to be on the look out for impatient drivers; these are the folks that weave carelessly in and out of lanes, drive along shoulders and pretty much just jam traffic up more. Just because you’ve planned ahead, doesn’t mean that others have been so organized!

General Driving Info

  • You must be at least 16 years of age to drive your New York car rental in Manhattan (please contact AAMCAR regarding their age policy).
  • The speed limit on most highways and expressways in Manhattan is 65 miles per hour, or 110 kilometers per hour. Please watch for signs posting any changes. If you are happening to drive through a Manhattan school zone, please be aware that the speed limit is strictly enforced at 15 miles per hour.
  • In NYC it is illegal to turn your New York car rental right on a red light, unless there is a sign posting otherwise

Street Information

    • One-Way streets are extremely popular in the Manhattan area of New York City, so be sure to consult an arrowed map before making any travel plans.
    • On Two-Way streets you must drive your New York car rental on the right hand side of the road
    • Odd numbered streets, like 57th Street travel West.
    • Even numbered streets, like 34th Street travel East.
    • Avenues in Manhattan go from North to South
    • During busy hours it isn’t uncommon for tunnels and bridges to reverse direction or even close down lanes. Traffic signs and police officers will help to regulate the flow of traffic.
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