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. 

How to Drive Chicago: Do Not Swerve into Oncoming Traffic to Avoid Potholes

31. Drive. There are 1.8 million potholes in Chicago proper. Do not swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid them. Come on. I’m astonished at how often I see this. If you need to avoid a pothole or any obstruction in your lane, slow down and do it cautiously . You may actually have to wait for oncoming traffic to pass before you maneuver around your pothole. Do not swerve to the left into approaching traffic at full speed causing the driver opposite you to hammer on their brakes. That is just acutely ignorant. The issue is on your side of the road. You’re the one that must yield. 

How to Drive Chicago: Fender Benders 

29. Drive. You’re inching along in traffic. You’re on the text machine. You get into a fender bender while on the expressway. Use your mirrors to acknowledge each other and then… MOVE YOUR CARS TO THE SHOULDER !!!  Do not, I repeat, do not sit in the center lane waiting for the police to arrive and determine who’s at fault. There is no forensic science in this. Police do not need to see the exact position and location of the cars. You are ruining everyone’s morning by causing a huge back up. People are going to be late for work because of you. They are going to miss their flight because of you. Children will die…because of you. 

Be smart. Use your brain.  And yeah, don’t text while driving blah blah blah. 

How to Drive Chicago: Alleys. 

28. Drive. Chicago is a city of alleys. A great deal of us drive in them daily. To exit an alley and enter the street a car must cross a sidewalk fairly blindly. Do it slowly and cautiously with your head on a swivel. Do not punch your car horn twice and zip on out. It startles oncoming pedestrians and irritates the local homeowners. You may think that you’re doing people on foot a service, but I think it’s lazy.  Hitting the horn is not an excuse to swiftly exit the ally.  Walkers with headphones blaring may not hear it. There’s only 1 prudent way to do this and that’s as slowly as possible. No horn needed. 

We’ve already covered this I guess… car horns are irksome. 

How to Drive Chicago: Merge Guilt

27. Drive. When merging into thick expressway traffic from an on-ramp, pick out a car in front of you that’s trying to do the same thing. Let them do your dirty work for you. Once she’s fought her car into traffic pull in front of her and do the same thing. She just did it so chances are she’ll let you in no problem and you don’t need to deal with all the angry drivers behind you. Let’s call it merge guilt.