Tips for Driving in Chicago for the First Time
Driving in Chicago can be intimidating. Like any city, there are many factors to take into account at all times—street signs, signals, pedestrians, cyclists, and heavy traffic. While streets are well-marked and GPS directions are pretty reliable in our city, there are still some things you’ll need to know before getting behind the wheel in Chicago.
While you should always pay attention while driving, in cities you should be even more aware of your surroundings. There are so many moving parts and things going on that you need to be more alert. Don’t let that stress you out, though! Try to stay as calm as possible so that you make good decisions and do not make a mistake or succumb to road rage.
Here are some tips if it’s your first time driving in Chicago:
- Don’t use your cellphone. According to House Bill 4846, it is illegal to use a hand-held communication device while driving in Illinois. Make sure to load your GPS before driving and use a hands-free device if you need to make a call.
- Grid pattern. Similar to most cities, Chicago is set up on a grid pattern where intersections are generally on right angles and streets run parallel and perpendicular. This makes it easier for you to understand where you’re going or get back on track if you get lost.
- You can turn right on red. When you approach a red light, you’re allowed to make a right turn on red unless there is a sign that specifies otherwise. Still be sure to check no other cars are coming before turning, and watch out for bicycles. Chicago has a large number of bicycle paths and bicycle users.
- Watch out for one-way streets. In the Loop, which is Chicago’s downtown business district, a lot of streets are one-way. Make sure to pay attention to signs that signal one-way streets.
- Be aware of rush hour times. Unless if you want to get stuck in standstill traffic, avoid driving between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., as well as between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. because those are rush hour times when the most people are more likely to be commuting.
- Look up construction zones. Rather than being surprised by construction zones while you’re driving around the city, you can search them online first so that you can change your route prior to driving if you need to. If you come upon a construction zone, you are required to obey the signs and yield to workers.
- Check event and game times. When there are baseball games, football games, hockey games, concerts, and other events in the city, there will be an influx of traffic. Even though you might not be able to completely avoid the extra traffic, you can be aware of what’s going on in the city and steer clear of the areas where the events are taking place.
- Look out for cyclists and pedestrians. We have a high number of cyclists and pedestrians in our city, so you need to be careful while driving. When pedestrians are in crosswalks, you must yield to them. You should also be aware of people on e-scooters, which are popular here. There are also areas where individuals pick up and drop off bicycles. Pay particular attention in these areas to avoid striking a bicyclist.
Other Transportation Options
If you don’t feel comfortable driving in Chicago, we get it. Urban driving can be hard. Not only do you have to figure out how to get around in your car, but you also have to worry about where to park your car, how much it will cost to park, and if it will get damaged from an accident. Thankfully, our city has plenty of public transportation options to make getting around super easy.
Here are some other transportation options for you in Chicago:
- The Metra
- The “L”
- City buses
- Chicago Water Taxi
- Rideshare Apps
- Divvy bikes
We want you to feel comfortable getting around in Chicago, so hopefully these tips help you in your travels! Whether you choose to drive, take public transportation, order a rideshare, or just walk, we hope you enjoy your time in our great city.
A Law Firm You Can Trust
If you were driving through Chicago and ended up in a car accident that was caused by negligence, you need a lawyer who you can trust to defend your rights. That’s where Krzak Rundio Law Group comes in. Our experienced car accident lawyers know how to handle complex cases and will treat yours exactly how you want them to—with careful attention and compassion. Contact our attorneys today so that we can discuss your potential claim and plan a course of action.