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What to Keep in Mind When Driving Through Suburban Areas

You know to remain hyper-vigilant while driving on busy interstates and through high-traffic areas of town. However, many drivers tend to lower their guard as they make their way through suburban areas. While the hazards may not be the same, they are definitely there.


Granted, you should watch out for pedestrians no matter where you are. In residential neighborhoods, though, people are more likely to be out and about. The couples out walking their dogs are likely to stay out of your way, but kids playing basketball are probably not as observant. Be on alert whenever you see unsupervised children wandering around.

Family walking dog in residential neighborhood

Speed Limits and Traffic Lights

As residential neighborhoods are more likely to have pedestrians, the speed limit is also reduced from in-city driving. Some neighborhoods are even plotted specifically to prevent drivers from zooming through at top speeds. This is done with safety in mind, and another reason to always be on the lookout for anyone or anything on the street.

Since residential neighborhoods are sometimes designed with less of a grid structure than city thoroughfares, it’s handy to keep your GPS active when driving through areas you are not familiar with. This can help you prepare for curves on the road.

It’s also not uncommon to find makeshift street parking in suburban neighborhoods. Speeding through these areas can increase the risk of hitting parked vehicles, or head-on collisions with other cars as you attempt to avoid parked vehicles.

Suburban areas tend to have more stop-and-start traffic. If there are traffic lights, you might notice they tend to not stay on green as long as those in the city. Combined with the reduced speed limit, and you likely find yourself riding your brakes.

New Drivers

Suburban areas are a breeding ground for new drivers – mostly teens who are still adjusting to what it’s like behind the wheel. While this can be frustrating, keep in mind that these drivers are still building their confidence. It’s ultimately better to keep them from second-guessing themselves or startling them by laying on the horn.

School zone speed limit

School Zones

As with younger drivers, you’re more likely to come across a school zone in the suburbs than in town. When school is in session, the speed limit around campus will decrease significantly.

The times and days are typically marked on the speed limit signs themselves, and may not be applicable or enforced during the summer or off months. Look for flashing lights around a speed limit or school zone sign. If there are none, it’s still a good idea to proceed with caution.

Also bear in mind the type of schools in these areas. If you’re driving past a high school campus, you’re more likely to run into teenage drivers – depending on the time of day, perhaps in abundance.

Keeping an eye on the speed limit in these areas not only helps keep children safe but you from being hit with a hefty speeding ticket.

Of course, accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. Being mindful of the speed limit and other drivers, regardless of age or skill, can help you avoid accidents no matter where you’re traveling. Or, at the very least, reduce the risk of serious injury.

If you are in an accident, call Hammer’s Autoworks to schedule your free estimate. We’ll get you back on the road in no time.