How to Drive Chicago: Speed Cameras

10. Drive.  Speed cameras… I can’t help you. They bust me every couple of months. They’re set up in random locations at parks and schools. I’ve seen them in front of post offices. I’ve seen them where absolutely no school or park or post office exists. I’ve seen them behind trees. I’ve seen them adjacent to viaducts where you can barely spot them at all. My point is that their placement seems indiscriminate. The cameras themselves are narrow and gray and very difficult to identify against the ever-present slate backdrop of our winter sky, even from a close distance. At least paint them yellow or something to give us a fighting chance. I have yet to turn up any data citing children injuries at schools or parks due to speed. It’s an obvious money maker for a city that desperately needs the dough.

One strategy…use the Waze navigation app.  Keep it open when driving around and with fairly good accuracy it will warn you when a speed camera is ahead.

How to Drive Chicago: Red Light Cameras

Welcome to February (best month of the year).

5. Drive.  Want to avoid every red light camera ticket for the rest of your life? Simple. When approaching an intersection turn your attention to the oncoming pedestrian crossing sign. Almost all intersections now give you a giant orange countdown to when your traffic light will turn yellow. Ideal for knowing when to gun it and go for it or when to hit the brakes.  If your car’s front tires enter the intersection (which is usually designated with a thick white stripe) anytime before that light turns red, no ticket can be issued. Watch those timers and you’re welcome.  

No timers at your intersection? Then quickly look to see if there’s a red light camera. They are big and black and in the same location at every intersection. Don’t see them? Then breeze on through wary of cross traffic commencing.

Warning, this is where that karma thing may come into play.

How to Drive Chicago: Driving Tip # 1

1. Drive.  We all know the old adage, 2 seasons in Chicago…winter and construction. It’s true. Most people probably think of construction on the expressways, but from April to November every side street I drive on is being resurfacing. When approaching a small patch of road construction mainly where the intersection has been carved down by 2 to 3 inches there is no need to slow down to 5 mph. Tires are incredibly rugged. They will be fine. Drive right over knocks in the road like a motherfucker. Especially, ESPECIALLY if you are in an SUV.  It is an SUV for God’s sake. It was designed to do this. It yearns to do this. Drive over road defects at the speed limit with authority!  Keep traffic moving.