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: Zipper Merges 

23. Drive. All merges are zipper merges. Think about that phrase “zipper merge” and act accordingly. One car from the left. One car from the right. Do not deviate. Left, right, left, right. Whether you are entering the expressway, merging from 2 lanes into 1, or being redirected by construction, do it. It will speed everything up. 

Let people merge in front of you. It won’t ruin your life. 

How to Drive Chicago: Go Flashing 

22.  Drive. My wife mentioned the other day that my recent blog entries have drifted away from my supposed main theme of city driving. Fine. You want driving? I’ll give you driving. 

If you’re on the expressway, or anywhere for that matter and traffic ahead comes to an unexpected screeching halt, after safely breaking, immediately throw on your hazard lights to warn the vehicle rushing up behind you. It makes a difference and may help you avoid getting rear ended. I’ve been the hazard flasher and the flashee and it’s saved me in both instances several times. 

Love depressing that little triangular button on your center console? Then why not use it to warn the tailgater behind you that you’re about to parallel park. Some drivers simply stop abruptly and throw it in reverse. Others throw on a quick turn signal to halt the driver behind them to allow enough room to reverse and park. It’s often not enough time on crowded city streets. The driver in your wake  is too close. And the driver behind them is too close. Getting the whole chain to reverse is near impossible and you have to abandon your potential parking space. 

Throw on the hazards the second you find an upcoming space. It will warn the driver behind you that there’s something out of the ordinary going on ahead. If you’re lucky  she’ll leave you a little room.