The Complete Guidelines and Safety Tips for Driving in Boston

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Boston city is known for its easy to navigate routes while walking, one of the reasons why the residents here prefer not to have a car. Even for people who are not very fond of walking from one place to another, the city offers accessible transportation. Ubers, Lyfts, and taxi services are also available all over the city.

Boston, however, does not let you drive with an easy state of mind. The city does not offer any grid to follow across like in New York, and since most people like to walk around there are usually many pedestrians to watch out for in every direction. However, if you understand the rules of the road, you can drive around in Boston effectively. If you are a new to the boston area or don’t have any idea about the places, then you must need to hire the most reliable boston car service who are very aware of the every corner of the city

Rules of the Road

While most of the rules of the road in Boston are similar to any major city in the United States, there are a few rules related to the use of cellphones, seatbelts, headlights, and toll lanes that you should be aware of before driving in the city.

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Cell phones: If you are 18 or above in age, you can talk on your phone while driving, but your other hand needs to be on the steering wheel all the time. Underage people can’t use their phones in any way while driving. Disobeying the rule will cost you $100 in fine along with a 60-day license suspension. Moreover, no matter what age you are, you can’t read, write, or send text while driving and while you are stopped in traffic. The first-time offenders will be fined $100.

Car rental age: The city allows you to rent a car as soon as you are 21, however, until you ar3 25, you will have to operate under restrictions and may have to pay a higher rate.

Seat belts: Drivers and passengers above the age of 13 are supposed to wear seatbelts. Children who are under the age of 8 should ride in dedicated car seats.

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Headlights: You should have your headlight on 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Alcohol: You are not legally allowed to drive a vehicle if your blood-alcohol concentration is over 0.8 percent, which is considered Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Open containers are not allowed in the car, unless they have been resealed, in which case they need to be transported in the trunk or locked glove compartment.

Carpool/HOV lanes: Boston has HOV lanes going in and out of the city, which are for cars with two or more occupants.

Toll lanes: There are certain lanes for the EZPass, which charge you automatically for tolls.

Traffic and Timing

Boston has a tendency of getting congested roads and using GPS does not guarantee a correct estimation of time it will take you to reach somewhere. If you are travelling in Boston during rush hours, make sure to leave early.

Busy time on the road: Usually, rush hour begins between 4 PM to 7 PM every day. On Fridays, the traffic is generally worse as both north and south lanes clog up before 4 PM as people travel to the mountains, beaches, and lakes for the weekend. Moreover, traffic can be worse for no reason on I-93 south from Boston until you reach the split to go to either Route 3 towards Cape Cod or to continue to I-93 south.

Seasonal traffic: Holidays and summer tend to be worse than Fridays. Besides Friday, Thursdays have also started to become congested since people head down to Cape Cod and north to New Hampshire for long weekends.

Sporting events, festivals, and concerts: Not unlike seasonal traffic, if there are any events going on in the city, it might result in heavy traffic on I-93 South.

Parking in Boston

It can be difficult to find parking spots in Boston, especially depending on the neighbourhood you are visiting or the time and day of your visit. While there are plenty of parking options in Boston, knowing them can help you navigate the city effectively.

It can be a challenge to find parking spots in Boston in Winters, especially after there has been a big snow storm. Make sure you are paying attention to emergency announcements and note that in the background, residents are allowed to leave a placeholder to reserve their parking space for 48 hours after the emergency ends. Also, keep an eye on the street cleaning signs, as your car will get towed if it is found on the side of the road that is being cleaned.

Parking garages: The city has plenty of options in terms of parking garages, however, they are typically the most expensive options. Most garages offer discounts for the people who are in and out by a certain time. Some parking spaces such as Prudential Center and Copley Place offer validation services if you make a purchase.

Reservation services: You can use apps such as SpotHero to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Valet: Many hotels and high-end restaurants offer valets, which will cost you more money compared to when you park the car yourself.

Meter parking: Some areas in Boston are metered parking while others offer free parking for non-residents on weekends. Look out for signs and plan according to the street spots.

Should You Rent a Car in Boston?

The answer to this question depends on what you are planning to do while visiting the city. If you are visiting the city to explore Boston’s tourist attractions and staying in a hotel or Airbnb, chances are you are not gonna need a rental car.

The MBTA train, bus system, Boston Taxi is a very efficient and affordable option for visitors to travel from one place to another. The different colored train lines are connected through a few key stations which makes it easier to navigate through the MBTA map. The bus lines, on the other hand, because of having more lines and stops can be a little confusing.

Over the last few years, Boston has also developed bike-lanes throughout the city in addition to programs like Boston Blue Bikes.

Moreover, like other cities, Boston has its fair share of Uber and Lyft drivers waiting to pick up locals and visitors.

When should you rent a car? Boston has plenty to offer in terms of visitable places. If you have an hour or two and you are planning to do some exploring outside the city or if you are visiting family or friends in the suburbs, you should opt for a rental car. There are plenty of car rental companies in the vicinity of the airport and throughout the city.

While driving in Boston, you need to be considerate of pedestrians, watch out for cyclists, and make sure you are driving with intention. 

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