Cities are notorious for their bumper-to-bumper traffic and an abundance of pedestrians, cyclists, tourists, taxi cabs and much more. It's chaotic for visitors. Even those who live in a major city like Chicago, who get used to this traffic, still face a lot of risks.
To some degree, avoiding an accident starts with understanding the risks and taking steps to reduce them. Here are five things you need to know about driving in the city:
1. Cyclists share the road
You must prepare yourself to drive safely around cyclists. They're everywhere. They also have a right to the road. Many can get around faster on bikes than you can in your car. Watch out for them when stopping, turning, merging and even just opening your car door after you park.
2. Parking gets difficult
Speaking of parking, it can get difficult. With millions of people vying for the same spots, you may not find one as readily as you'd like. A lot of accidents happen because drivers get distracted looking for a place to park or they drive aggressively as they try to claim a space.
3. Pedestrians line the streets
Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Watch out for them at stoplights and all other intersections. Like cyclists, they're everywhere. Be warned that many may try to dart across the road or may get distracted by their phones while crossing.
4. Events increase traffic
Chicago is a major city with all of the events and attractions that go along with it. People drive in for concerts and shows. They go to baseball games, football games and hockey games. When these events let out, everyone gets back on the road at the same time. For a short while, traffic is even more packed than usual. You need to know when and where these events take place.
5. Rush hour creates traffic jams
While it may be hard to plan around ballgames and other such events, you can plan around rush hour. It's bad in the morning, but it's even worse when people start getting out of work. The stretch from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. sees much higher traffic levels than the rest of the day, with the predictable spike around 5 p.m. This can cause delays and an increase in traffic accidents, though the good news is that at least these accidents often happen at low speeds.
This helps you know what to expect when driving in Chicago. If you get hurt in an accident, make sure you also know exactly what legal rights you may have to financial compensation. Talk with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.