Driving in cities varies according to each cities geography, social layout, and hot spots. The traffic issues have a major impact on how a city manages its transportation issues, and that is why public transport systems don't cover the needs of the many. This is why rideshare has become so popular since it provides a personalized solution to a time old problem; how do I get from where I am to where I want to be? So here at RSF, I decided to start preparing guides for my readers, comprehensive insights into anything and everything rideshare related.
RSF City Guides for Drivers
This series will look at specific cities and focus on issues that are related to each and every city. Take into account that all information provided will change over time. Cities tend to change their transportation routes, and business, as well as social locations, move around.
Phoenix is the fifth most populous city in the US with over 1.6 million residents. It is the largest State capital in the US and the only one with over a million residents. Phoenix is pronounced Fee-Nix. The city is actually made up of 15 urban villages: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley, Rio Vista, and South Mountain.
Uber drivers are well aware of Phoenix, since the fatal accident where Elaine Herzberg died in the world's first AV pedestrian accident.
The best locations in Phoenix are:
- Old Town Scottsdale
- Talking Stick Resort
- Indian and Blackwater
- Phoenix Sky Harbor
- ASU Campus
- University of Phoenix Stadium
- Morning rush hour: Mon - Fri 7 - 10am
- Evening rush hour: Mon - Thu 4 - 7pm
- Fri 5pm - Sat 3am
- Sat 6pm - Sun 3am
Phoenix rush hours are set in granite, and are long. They morning rush hours start at 5 am and continue all the way till noon, which meets up seamlessly with the evening rush hour that starts at noon and finishes at 7pm. The weekend rush hours are notorious, and Fridays starts on Thursday.
If you learned driving in a different state or city, then don't rely on what you learned. Phoenix driving is unique, and the laws of reality don't apply here. For instance, on Loop 101, the speed limit must be at least same as the road number. On freeways, if you drive less than 85 mph, you will be stopped for obstructing traffic.
Now comes the interesting part, categorizing your car. If you have a loud muffler, you go first at a four way stop, after you come to the monster trucks, those with the biggest tires. If you are driving in East Valley, then the SUV soccer moms that are constantly talking on their cell phones have the right of way, or else.
Never stop at a yellow light, if you do you will either be rear-ended, shouted, and cussed, or if you are lucky, shot. Also, never honk, you will get shot.
As with most cities in the US, construction is an ongoing thing, and it has not stopped since the railroads first laid their tracks back in the 19th century. Just to make sure you are totally confused; the city public works move the detour barrels around at night, so you don't get bored with your daily routine.
One of the things you should watch for in Phoenix are drunks, skunks, dogs, barrels, cones, cats, shredded tires, vultures, roadrunners, and the coyotes.
If you see another vehicle with their signal light blinking, be kind and wave them off the road, they must have turned it on by mistake, and not noticed it blinking. Also, don't flip anyone off, you will be shot. One final issue, if you decide to drive in the left lane, make sure you are at least driving around 70 mph even when the speed limit is 55-65 mph. You will be treated as a road hazard and most probably flipped off, in which case you can shoot on sight.
Also, note that sometimes stopping at a red light is optional for some drivers that think the intersection is free. So, every time you reach an intersection, double check before you enter it.
The I-10 is also known as the Papago Freeway and the Maricopa Freeway.
The SR-202 is called the Red Mountain Highway.
SR-101 is the Pima Freeway, but west of I-17 becomes known as the Black Canyon Freeway as well as the Veterans Memorial Highway.
Dunlap and Olive are the same streets.
Thunderbird Road evolves into Cactus Road, but Cactus road dead-ends in the mountain, so beware.
Phoenix is hot, very very hot, in he summer, either have a special cover for your windshield, for your driving wheel or wear die-caster gloves. Don't let kids with shorts sit on the leather upholstery before you had a chance to cool the car, or you will be charged with child abuse.
One of the biggest issues facing any driver in downtown Phoenix is the metro light rail tracks and signage. Even experienced drivers get confused, so if you are a rider, take an Uber or public transport, do not venture into this area alone. The signage is confusing, and you will get lost among the many one-way streets and restricted access area's as well as metro light rail lanes hat are all mingled together to confuse the above average driver.
Rush hour is a major issue in Phoenix, unlike most major cities, there are real danger areas here not be taken lightly by even the bravest of drivers. One such area is the 7th avenue ((McDowell Road to Northern Avenue) and on 7th Street (McDowell Road to Dunlap Avenue). These have reversible lanes, or what locals call "suicide lanes." This means that southbound traffic get to use the lanes in the morning and the northbound traffic gets to use them at night; now you understand the name. My advice is that you stay clear of these lanes, as well as the left lane, which is where the drivers from the suicide lane invariably turn.
Speeding is an issue only because it is varied from area to area. This means that varied speed limits are sometimes in use and you need to notice the signage at all times. You will be ticketed for speeding, and yes, this is a major source of income for the city.
Since Phoenix is made up of many cities, you need to notice when you are weaving between one and the other. For instance, smoking while driving is illegal in Tempe, so if you started to smoke in one area and just happened to enter Tempe city limits, you might be cited for smoking.
Take note that in West Valley there is an issue with golf carts, they have the right of way and will take t only because they don't notice you. Even if they did notice you, at their age, these drivers will play chicken since they have fewer years left in them than you do! And they are gnarly old bastards too.
7 alternative best driving routes
Driving from North Phoenix, between State Route 51 and Interstate 17, the choice is in favor of 51.
If you are driving towards the East Valley, take the Loop 202 rather than the US 60.
Since most highways are more like parking lots, consider taking frontage roads.
In West Valley, its best to take surface roads and forgo all highway options.
If you want to be in the know at all times, follow ADOT on twitter, they give constant updates, its better than relying on Waze.
The Mini Stack is the interchange of Interstate 10, Loop 202, and State Route 51. This is the worst place to be in Phoenix. For reaching downtown, rather than getting caught in the mini stack, take the I-10 east from the 51 and exit on Jefferson/Washington Street. If you are on the 202, take the same exit but on the 10 and 51 ramps. Keep left onto I-10 east and take the first exit which will place you on 20th Street and Washington. This is also good for reaching Chase Field and the US Airways Center.
If you want to drive to Tempe from Phoenix, drive via the airport, for some reason, it is better than the I-10. The airport route will take you through State Route 143 (or Loop 202).
7 Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain
While Phoenix is a hot city, it has its moments and rain is one of them. Rain in a dusty city has one extra issue; it makes the streets extremely slippery.
- The roads are slipperiest during first rain. The longer the rain continues, the less slippery the initial road surface conditions.
- On rainy days, keep a 2 second distance from the car in front. You can do that by counting the time it takes the car in front to pass light or another vehicle parked on the side.
- On rainy days, keep your headlights on at all times. Its not a law, but this is a strong recommendation since it is much harder to see. Especially on days when the visibility is really low.
- If your car starts to skid (hydroplaning), don't panic and don't brake. If you brake your car will go into an uncontrolled spin. Juts take your foot of the accelerator and keep your steering straight. If you reach a pavement, then your car will stop fully, if not and your car stops, just ease off with the accelerator. No fast movements in the rain.
- Never use cruise control in the rain. When a car starts to hydroplane the cruise control speeds up automatically, which increases the danger levels exponentially.
- Its always best to drive in the center lanes or be close to the center of the road in rainy conditions. Usually, puddles form at the sides, and some of them might have hidden potholes in them.
- Pull over if you are unsure, don't be worried about being late, its better being late to date than early to an emergency ward.
The best bar and other scenes in and around Phoenix
If you like to pick up the inebriated and you have enough barf bags in the back, then try these 10 dives for lucrative driving locations at night.
Old Town Scotsdale
- Bottled Blonde,
- Dierks Bentley's
- El Hefe- Scottsdale
- Topgolf Scottsdale
- Wasted Grain
- Maya Day + Night Club
- The district on Apache
- The Yard Tempe
- Tempe Marketplace
- Tempe Beach Park
- Sun Devil Stadium
- Tempe Mission Palms
- Aloft Tempe
- Casey Moore's
- Four Peeks
- The Yard 7th Street
- Charlie's Phoenix
- The Fashion Square
- San Tan Brewing Company
- Bourbon Jacks
- The Perch Pub & Brewery
- Zipps Sports Grill
- Harvey American Public House
- TC's Pub & Grub
- Denim and Diamonds
- Mad Dog Saloon
- The HUB Bar and Grill