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Safe Driving Tips for Summer in Chicago

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


Summertime in Chicago is a great time to explore the city and take advantage of the Windy City’s many attractions. Driving in Chicago can feel overwhelming whether you’re a local or a visitor. Like any big city, you’ll have to deal with traffic and look out for reckless drivers. However, with some planning and preparation, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Here are 11 safe driving tips for your summer in Chicago.

1. Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

Chicago is a big city with many landmarks, attractions, and local hot spots. You should do your best to plan your trip ahead of time to avoid getting lost or stuck in traffic.

Before hitting the road, take some time to familiarize yourself with the area you’re visiting. Often called “The City of Neighborhoods,” navigating Chicago can get confusing. Use your GPS or a map to plan your route and look for landmarks or recognizable buildings to help you navigate. For example, if driving to Wrigley Field, look for the iconic marquee sign.

2. Don’t Drive Without Your License & Insurance Info

No one expects to be in a fender bender on I-90 or pulled over by Chicago police for making an illegal turn, but it’s wise to be prepared.

Whether you’re a local or tourist, driving without your license and insurance info is never a good idea. It can result in a ticket and points on your driving record. Not only is it essential to have your driver’s license and insurance information readily available in case you get pulled over, but it also helps protect you in an accident.

3. Be Aware of Parking Restrictions

Street parking in Chicago can be challenging, especially during the summer when more visitors are there. Be aware of street parking restrictions to avoid getting a ticket or having your car towed.

Look for signs that indicate when parking is allowed and when it’s not. Pay attention to street cleaning schedules, which vary from street to street. You can also use parking apps like Chicago Parking Map to find available parking spots in the area.

4. Drive Defensively

Chicago is a bustling city with a lot of traffic, so driving defensively is important. Always be aware of your surroundings and other drivers on the road.

Keep a safe following distance, signal your intentions, and use your mirrors to check for blind spots. Watch out for pedestrians, especially in busy areas like downtown or near popular attractions like Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.

5. Take Your Time.

Chicago is a fast-paced city, especially in the summer, but taking your time when driving is essential. Don’t rush, make risky maneuvers on the highway, or try to speed through traffic lights.

Instead, take a deep breath and relax. Chicago rush hour is frustrating for everyone. You’ll get to your destination safely and without incident if you take your time and stay focused on the road.

6. Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. To avoid accidents, focus on the road and avoid distractions like texting, eating, or adjusting the radio.

If you need to use your phone or GPS, pull over and take care of it. Also, ensure your passengers are not distracting you while driving.

7. Don’t Drive Tired

Driving while tired is a serious safety hazard and impairs your ability behind the when as much as alcohol or drugs. Drowsy driving can impair your judgment, reaction time, and focus. It also increases the risk of accidents, which can cause injuries or even fatalities. Fatigue can also lead to microsleeps, where you momentarily fall asleep without realizing it, which can be extremely dangerous while driving.

Therefore, try to get enough rest before driving around a big city like Chicago, and take breaks if you feel drowsy. You might also consider using Chicago’s public transportation system (CTA), a taxi, or a rideshare to reach your destination.

8. Prepare for Weather Changes

Chicago weather can be unpredictable, so be ready for changes in weather conditions. Check the local forecast before heading out, and be prepared for rain, thunderstorms, or extreme heat.

Ensure your car has good tires, working windshield wipers, and functional air conditioning. If you need to drive in bad weather, reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

9. Stay Alert for Construction Zones

Chicago is famous for a lot of things, and one of them is ongoing road construction projects. To stay safe, be alert for construction zones and follow the signs and instructions given.

Reduce your speed, watch for workers or equipment, and be prepared for lane closures or detours. Additionally, be aware of construction-related road hazards, such as uneven pavement or debris on the road.

10. Don’t Drive Impaired

There are countless fun bars and restaurants in Chicago, and recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois if you’re over 21.  But remember that driving impaired is illegal and extremely dangerous. Impaired driving poses a risk to the driver and passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road.

Chicago has strict laws against impaired driving, and violators can face severe legal and financial consequences, including jail time, fines, and license suspension. To avoid endangering yourself and others, never drive while impaired. Instead, use public transportation, rideshares, or designated drivers to get around Chicago safely.

11. Inspect Your Vehicle & Buckle Up

Before hitting the road in Chicago, it’s a good idea to inspect your vehicle and ensure that it’s in good working condition. This means checking your brakes, headlights, taillights, and tires to ensure they function correctly. A poorly maintained vehicle can increase the risk of accidents, especially in a busy area you are unfamiliar with. Additionally, everyone in your car must wear their seatbelts.

Not only is wearing a seatbelt the law in Illinois, but it’s also an easy way to reduce the risk of injuries in case of an accident. So, before you start your car in Chicago, take a few minutes to inspect your vehicle and make sure you and your passengers are buckled up.

Stay Safe & Speak to Lawyer If You’re Hurt

Summertime is a busy time in Chicago, and locals and visitors alike should keep themselves, their passengers, and others on the road as safe as possible. By following this advice, you should have an easier and more enjoyable ride around Chi-town.

Unfortunately, accidents still happen, even to the most careful drivers. Whether you’re visiting or live in Chicago yearlong, if you’re in a collision caused by another’s negligence, speaking to a local lawyer can help you understand your options and protect your rights. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our Chicago car accident lawyers can explain how the process works for injured tourists and will fight to secure everything you deserve.

Free Consults Available and No Up-Front Cost: (312) 736-0763.

 

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