How to Drive Chicago: Jumping the Line at a Stoplight

45.  Drive.  Jumping the line at a stoplight. If you live in the city you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I’m not going to go into why one would pull this maneuver, but it comes in handy from time to time (or at every traffic light you come to if you’re S.R.)

Here’s the best technique: 

1. Hang back a few yards out of peripheral vision from the first car in line as you pull adjacent to it on it’s right so as to not raise his “not going to let you in front of me” antenna. 

2. Monitor the electronic countdown for the cross traffic crosswalk. When it hits 0 you know cross traffic is about to get their yellow.

3. Begin advancing during the cross traffic yellow. Your light is about to go green. You have already left yourself some extra runway. 

It’s near impossible for the lead car on your left to accelerate from a dead stop faster than you with your rolling start to keep you from merging in front of him. You’ll get so far out in front so quickly that it will eliminate their attempt to race you and keep you out. 

First car at the light….. let the jumper go. It doesn’t affect you. 

How to Drive Chicago: Speeding Tickets 

44. Drive. If you’ve got a lead foot like me it’s good to know who has jurisdiction to pull you over on the roads surrounding your city. Chicago cops cannot stop you on the expressway. That’s Illinois State Trooper territory. The exception is Chicago Transit Police. Their cars look just like Chicago Police cars, but have “Transit Police” labeled on the side. They monitor the “El” stops down the expressways. If you’re zipping along and you see one rolling ahead of you, let up a bit. They can pull you over and ticket you on the expressway. 

Lake Shore Drive – Chicago Police (they sit and radar often). Keep it under 60 mph and your usually fine. 

Chicago Skyway – Chicago police. 

If you have the Waze app, keep it open and most times it will alert you when “police are reported ahead.”  It’s a modern day fuzz buster. 

How to Chicago: Good Radio

41. Drive and Thrive. I still find terrestrial radio to be what I desire most when zipping around town. You can dial in several of your city’s local, college, radio stations while on the road. They are the best. The DJs are green as hell. Lots of “um”s and dead air, but I’ll take that over the slick voices of commercial radio any day. The tunes are eclectic and stimulating and it’s commercial free. If you get into it for a considerable time send ’em a donation. You will find them all left of the dial.

88.7 WLUW

88.3 WZRD

90.9 WDCB for the jazzbos

How to Drive Chicago: Speed in the Express Lanes. 

39. Drive. Speed when you’re driving in the express lanes. They are the best thing about the Kennedy and the Dan Ryan. 

Especially the Kennedy (I 90). If traffic is light and you have the option of the locals or the express, you best speed if you choose the latter.  What’s the point if you’re not going to speed. There’s only 1 spot in that 8 mile stretch where a county mounty can sit and ticket you, but they can be seen from a literal mile away. 

Speed if you opt for the express lanes. Otherwise you’re just in the way.  You wouldn’t stand in the center of an escalator blocking people that want to walk past you on the left. Who would do that.?

Same thing on the highway. If you’re just going to la de da it down the road then stay in the locals and out of my way. I’ve got shit to do. 

How to Drive Chicago: dominate the expressway, brah

37. Drive. Commuting on the expressway through or around downtown during rush hour (which is every hour) can be nauseating. Expressways are very much like flowing rivers with slow pockets and fast-moving channels. These correspond directly to which side cars are entering and exiting the highway from. Move to the lanes that lead to highway exits. Less cars mean faster speeds. Avoid the side of the highway that has entrance ramps. More cars equals….. you get the point. The difference in how quickly you zip through traffic can be drastic. That stretch of exits and entrances can go on for several miles and then unexpectedly flip sides.  Know where those changes occur and move to that side accordingly.  

How to Two: Come on Already. ALERT. MUST READ. 

 36.5. Drive. Let’s make today a two-fer. This will also be the first time I’ve revisited a previous post. This one harkens back to Month 1 of this blog and I feel like none of you are listening.

THERE IS NO NEED TO EVER SLOW DOWN WHEN DRIVING OVER A SEGMENT OF ROAD AS  SEEN ABOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Never ever ever bether nether clever pleather smether heather ever ever. 

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a mile long back up because people hit the brakes and creep over a patch like this I would…… fuck off. Just stop doing it please. 

How to Drive Chicago: “Shitgun!”


36. Drive. And Survive. And Thrive. We were pulling out of a parking lot recently after our ten thousandth little league game and we drove past another family. I watched 2 siblings fighting for the front seat. What started as a verbal argument ended with Homer on Bart style choking. Parents in tears. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. 

But you . . . you’re better than that. You’ve figured this out already. Or, maybe you’re one of those families who’s flatulence has no odor and your clones never argue. If that is NOT the case, allow me to help.  

Child “A” in the front seat on the way to all destinations. Child “B” in the front seat anytime you are on the way home. Done. That’s it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a one-way trip. Doesn’t matter if you’re dropping one off at an orphanage and he will never ride with you again.  “A” in front on the way there. “B” in front on the way back. 

Doesn’t matter if the getaway trip takes 5 hours and then we find a worm hole and the return is 6 minutes. “A” on the way there. “B” on the way back. 

Accordion your car killing your family? Does not matter. Corpse “A” in front. Corpse “B” in back. 

Now, I’m quite aware of the math issues if you own a third child. In that case, keep it simple. The baby stays in back until your oldest stops riding with you. Good to keep her confidence down anyways. Make it up to her in some other way. Let her lead prayers or something 

How to Drive Chicago: One Way Streets

35. Drive. Chi-town is brimming with one-way streets. Busy one-way streets. Populous cities come with loads of crime. This means police chases. Always look in both directions when crossing a one-way street in your vehicle. Peering only in the direction traffic is supposed to be coming from won’t get it done. Drivers fleeing the po po will take any route possible which means all bets are off on one-way streets. They could blow you up in an instant if you’re not looking for them.

How to Drive Chicago: Get Right

34. Drive. There is no standard street width in Chicago. Some side streets are as wide as the Ole Mississip. Others seem to defy the laws of 2 way street physics. Many are so narrow that you and oncoming cars must take turns advancing. You drive a half block then pull over into the gap that leads to the ally. They drive half a block then pull into a gap on there side. Repeat. I have no rules for those types of streets other than just try and be fair. Don’t be the boob that never pulls over and takes his turn waiting. I think as a rule most people are good at this. 

This post is more about the side street that is narrow, yet still wide enough to accommodate fluid 2 way traffic at the same time. It is on these streets that I get a bit perturbed. Scientific studies reveals that 9 out of 10 people are so fearful of clipping their right side mirror with that of a parked car that they would rather drive over the midline of the road and risk colliding with an oncoming car. 

Yeah. No. 

34. Move as far right as possible on narrow, two-way side streets. Better to rub a parked car than one moving towards you in the opposite direction. Refer to the laws of deceleration.

#leaveanote

How to Drive Chicago: Parallel Park

32. Drive. So many city dwellers fail at this simple maneuver. I, for one, am a prodigious parker by parallel. Give me 1 inch clearance from front and back bumper and I’ll slide in there faster than you can say purple rain. I actually have it listed on my resume. 

– Attended Elmhurst College

– Physical Therapist

– ’91 Homecoming King

– Saw Prince live in concert

– Parallel parking god. 

How apropos as most people don’t know that Prince was an amazing parallel parker as well. 

I digress. Learn how to parallel park. I mean go out and practice it if you have to. It’s essential for living in any big city and it’s embarrassing if you can’t get it done quickly.  Use your hazards to clue in cars to the rear that you are parking (a turn signal seems to confuse people behind). Set up directly parallel with the car that will ultimately be in front of you. Reverse. Turn the wheel all the way to the right. One one thousand. two one thousand. Turn the wheel all the way to the left. Boom. Bob’s your uncle. You’re done.