The summer months are winding down. The promise of fall foods, sweater weather, and football season can make this an exciting time of year. But for young people, the end of summer means the imminent return of school. The DMV’s population is expected to swell with college students in particular. The DMV is home to a number of prestigious higher learning institutions, which provide a world-class education to young people all over the world. Howard, Georgetown, American, and the University of Maryland at College Park are just a few of the most well-known. Part of acclimating to college life is learning to navigate your area, and the DMV has several quirks that make this a particular challenge for new residents. This week’s blog post will offer some DMV driving tips for any freshman drivers or upperclassmen in need of a refresher.
Let’s start with the big one. Interstate 495, also known as the beltway, knits the region together. A symbol of the DMV that’s both famous and notorious, the prospect of driving on the beltway can intimidate even the most experienced drivers. The beltway hosts an almost constant volume of heavy traffic across multiple lanes, with frequent exits, interchanges, and HOV lanes. The highway passes directly through the city of Alexandria, Virginia as well as Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery and Prince George Counties in Maryland.
The first thing to keep in mind while driving on the beltway is that driving in the middle lane is generally safest. Drivers accustomed to two lane highways in less populous parts of the country may prefer to drive in the right lane and pass in the left. But on the Beltway, it’s fairly common for the furthest left or right lane to become an exit lane with little advance warning. Driving in the middle lanes and giving yourself plenty of time to change lanes before your exit will minimize your chance of suffering an accident.
In addition, you may wish to avoid the Beltway during rush hour, which generally falls between 6 AM and 9 AM in the morning and 4 PM to 7 PM in the evening. Congestion and traffic jams can be a regrettably common occurrence at these times, particularly at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and American Legion Bridge. As with any highway, the Beltway is also subject to routine maintenance and construction, which can affect traffic patterns dramatically. Staying informed can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises while traversing the beltway.
There’s no other way to say it. Driving in DC itself can be an exercise in frustration. Hawk-eyed and omnipresent parking police, confusing traffic circles, disruptive presidential motorcades, and congested streets complicate any drive through our nation’s capital. It’s not hard to understand why almost a third of DC residents don’t own a car. Luckily, the impeccably maintained metro train system provides a great way to get around the city, as well as travel into Maryland and Virginia. Scooter rental services, as well as the capital bikeshare system also provide a means of transportation. It may seem defeatist but one of the best DMV driving tips we can give may just be “don’t drive unless you have to.” You can find further reading on pedestrian and bicycle accidents elsewhere on our blog.
Moving to college can be exciting and liberating. It also means getting out of your comfort zone in an unfamiliar place. Malloy Law Offices, LLC encourages every resident of the DMV to behave responsibly when travelling. Whether you’re in a car, on a bike, motorcycle, scooter, or just walking, keeping yourself safe helps keep everyone else safe. But accidents still happen and people are still injured through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one has been hurt, the DMV’s personal injury specialists at Malloy Law can help you seek the restitution you are entitled to. We’ll fight to recoup the maximum possible damages while you focus on your recovery. Don’t wait to seek justice. Contact us today for your free consultation.