downtown Chicago street with cars on road

How To Drive Safely in the City

For many drivers, nothing beats the “open road”—getting to put your cruise control on and not having to hit your brakes too often because there are minimal cars and traffic lights in your way.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may sometimes find yourself having to drive through a major city, like Chicago. Driving in any big city presents a unique set of challenges and requires all drivers to remain patient and vigilant. For those who are not used to busy streets and driving at slower speeds, here are some ways to make the process less stressful and remain safe.

Obey the Speed Limit

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that city drivers will almost always encounter traffic jams and bumper-to-bumper traffic. In order to prevent accidents on busy roads, the speed limit is usually lowered in these areas, but do not take this number arbitrarily. The speed limit is there for a reason: to keep you and others safe on the road.

Constantly check that you are abiding by the speed limit and slow down if you notice you are going too fast. Even if you think you have the road ahead of you, road conditions and traffic lights change constantly. Going at a safe speed allows you to brake or slow down when it is needed.

Give Yourself Extra Room

As mentioned above, road conditions are more likely to quickly change and impact you when you’re driving through a big city, be it from other drivers, pedestrians, or even construction zones. Even when you are driving at or below the speed limit, you should always have a cushion between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Additionally, distractions are a common cause of car accidents and injuries during road congestion. There are simply too many moving pieces for you to take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road for even a moment. Remove all distractions so you can focus on ensuring you are not tailgating the vehicle in front of you.

Be Mindful of Riders and Pedestrians

Herds of riders and pedestrians can be found in nearly any major city. While you may not expect them to be in your right of way, you should always be mindful of where they are so that you can make sure to steer clear of them. No matter what road you are driving on, pedestrians will always have the right of way and, just like bicycle riders, are more at risk of severe or fatal injuries when hit by vehicles.

When Possible, Avoid Rush Hour

If possible, try to avoid driving in cities during rush hour, which usually hits its peak between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning, followed by 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the evening. More accidents occur during congestion and traffic jams because of:

  • Cars being closer together
  • Stop-and-go traffic
  • Tailgating
  • Road rage and aggressive driving

Be Patient and Let It Go

Finally, there will be times when other drivers cut you off, or a pedestrian jay-walks right in front of your vehicle, or a bicycle rider is holding up your lane. While it can be frustrating when other drivers, pedestrians, or riders don’t follow the rules, make sure that you drive with patience and let things roll off your shoulders.

Accidents related to road rage are common, especially in cities when traffic is bad. For everyone’s sake, release the anger when you’re behind the wheel so you can focus on driving with the care and safety that you need to ensure everyone’s safety.

Injured in a Chicago Accident?

If you or a loved one is injured in Chicago or the surrounding area, turn to McNabola & Associates for legal assistance and help pursuing the compensation you need and deserve. Our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims and their families so they can focus on healing the right way.

We keep an open line of communication for every client and guide each one through the legal process seamlessly, answering any questions they may have along the way. You can rest easy knowing your case and future are in our hands.

Contact our Chicago personal injury attorneys at (312) 888-8700 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys!