Oh hey, I didn't notice the IS on the 18-135 in the lens list. Sorry for missing it. Yes, that would be a great starter lens if you're just learning.
A lot of distortion can be corrected by software nowadays. Even chromatic aberration (color fringes due to the lens focusing blue light at a different location than red light) can be partially corrected. It's harder to correct in zoom lenses, but DSLRs encode your camera settings and the lens focal length in the image file (at least they do for RAW files, not sure if they save as much info in JPEGs). So a lot of times the software can just read that info and apply the appropriate amount of correction. You used to have to buy separate software for this, but nowadays it's built into a lot of photo cataloging/processing software.
I assume you want city lights with the car headlights turned into streaks? You need a tripod for that - the handheld limit for IS is about a quarter second exposure, maybe 1/2 sec if your'e lucky. Cars won't travel far enough in that short time to streak the headlights appreciably. Mount the camera on a tripod, turn the lens' IS off (the math which controls it runs into problems when there's zero shake, and it will tend to wander, blurring your image), set the camera to the lowest ISO available (usually 50 or 100), and set the aperture to f/8 or f/16 to maximize the exposure time and get the headlights to streak. A fixed focal length may work better than a zoom due to less flare (internal reflections from bright spots).
Yes I know many lenses can stop down to f/22 or f/32, but diffraction (quantum behavior of light causes it to randomly bend instead of travel in a straight line as it moves through small openings) starts to degrade image quality at about f/16. f/8 is generally considered the "sharpest" aperture - minimal diffraction but the aperture is small enough to minimize lens defects (you won't be able to tell your cheap lens from a $1000 pro lens at f/8). f/16 suffers from some diffraction, but it's barely noticeable.
If you want even longer exposures, you'll need to add neutral density filters to further cut down the amount of light (usually these are only required for long exposures in daytime, for example if you want to blur the water in a flowing stream or waterfall). If you get to this point, I'd recommend getting two polarizer filters instead. One circular polarizer, one linear polarizer. Screw the two onto each other, then onto the lens. The circular polarizer randomizes the polarized light so autofocus still works, so it has to be the one closer to the lens. Once you've constructed this mega-filter, rotating the linear polarizer relative to the circular polarizer gives you a variable neutral density filter. It'll block out anywhere between 50% to 100% of the light coming through depending on how it's rotated. The drawback is that all these filter surfaces can add flare. But since these two filters will cover basically any neutral density you need, you can use the money you save to buy some really nice (and expensive) multi-coated polarizer filters, which will help reduce flare. The circular polarizer alone will also help reduce reflections when shooting glass or water, though you'll discover the blue sky is polarized, and using it in wide-angle shots of the sky will result in the sky being uneven in brightness.
And I'm happy to help. This is an expensive hobby. When I'm shooting, I often joke that my camera bag is worth more than my car. If I can save someone hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars in the future by spending a few minutes writing something, it's well worth it.