If you’re coming here as a new resident who likes to commute with a car, then you should read a bit about driving in Chicago so that you can be more prepared. Getting around by driving through Chicago is one of the many options you will have once you move here to explore or just go to work or for a cup of coffee. We gathered the most important info every new resident should know.
The Windy City, as every other metropolis, can intimidate you when you start driving through its streets. There are traffic jams since 2,7 million people live in the largest city in Illinois, and cars became a necessity a long time ago. Being behind the wheel in unknown territory can surely cause driving anxiety. That’s why everyone who enters this place with a car must know all the facts about Chicago driving. Even if you prefer riding a bicycle most of your time, you still need to know how driving in Chicago works. Also, if you’re moving to Chicago soon and you’re not coming by driving here, be sure you learn how to transport cars from state to state. To make that easier as well, we prepared some car shipping advice.
In case you chose to avoid public transportation, cycling, and walking, and you want to know how is driving in Chicago, we have the answer. Chicago driving is not complicated at all – it’s pretty straightforward, there’s a grid pattern, and the chances of getting lost are close to none. Google maps are very reliable here, so whatever street you’re headed to, you’ll find it easily.
However, if you ask someone how to drive in Chicago, you might hear that you have to prepare for a lot of difficulties. There are many jaywalkers, cyclists, drivers who aren’t following the rules, and of course, the rush hours. These factors can cause a lot of driving stress and even road rage.
The best method to avoid getting stuck in your car is to know when the rush hours are and not to drive then (if you have the chance). Every metropolitan area has the same problem, so a similar situation is also when you’re driving in New York City or driving in Los Angeles. Just be smart and don’t drive in Chicago from 6 to 8 AM and from 4 to 6 PM. Of course, this depends on the day and the neighborhood. Mondays and Fridays are really heavy with traffic because of the people who leave the metropolis during the weekend or return there.
You won’t be surprised when you see someone blocking the road trying to parallel park because you will soon feel the same when seeing a spot, no matter how unlikely it might be to fit in. Empty places aren’t easy to find, but it’s not all that bad. The thing that will do the trick (even if you don’t know the area so well yet) is to use these apps – SpotHero and Parkwhiz. Keep in mind that the prices for an hour aren’t cheap, and that you have to know the rules of the specific parking meter.
There’s a very small chance that you’ll find a spot to park when in Downtown, or near any attraction site here. Again, it’s the same as everywhere else, so it’s no wonder. However, if you’re headed downtown, you don’t have to park there. The map of parking spots will help you enormously. Again, it’s always the best option to use public transportation when going Downtown, but in case you can’t, know that driving in this part of the city mostly depends on the peak hours. Downtown can get clogged because of the highways that lead in and out of it.
As someone who recently moved here or plans to, there are some regulations you need to learn if you don’t want to get a ticket. Once you get in your car and find a spot, look for signs nearby. If you see a red Anti-Gridlock Zone sign, that means you aren’t allowed to park there during peak hours. No Stopping or No Standing zone is pretty much self-explanatory, so if you see that sign, be sure you don’t linger there. You can pick up someone or drop them off, but pulling up isn’t allowed, even if you’re sitting in the car. If you park and see a meter, check what type of payment does it accept and do you have a free hour or two.
There are more things you should pay attention to when driving in Chicago. When choosing to move here, you must consider weather conditions, yearly and monthly events, and rules. Here’s what you have to know about Chicago driving:
Another important tip for those who plan to come here by air is that Chicago has two airports – the main O’Hare International Airport and a smaller one called Midway Airport. Avoiding the traffic when going to the airports can be difficult, so make sure you leave plenty of extra time. The closest expressway may not be the fastest – if you choose to go to O’Hare on Friday afternoon, the best option is to skip I-90 and to use I-290 to I-294. The fastest way to get to Midway is to go on Archer Avenue or the Eisenhower (I-290) to Cicero Avenue and then go south.
Since you’re going to be frequent on the streets of Chicago, you should know that some popular import cars are better suited for cruising through a large city than others. There are huge boulevards, but there are also narrow streets and small parking spots that can be tricky for bulky SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans. In case you’re searching for the best model that will suit the roads of Chicago, we have some suggestions that we’d like to share. Consider this as the best car show for driving in Chicago:
In case you’re planning to hire an auto transport company and to relocate your vehicle from one state to another, make sure that you know how to pack a car for moving. You can choose between an open trailer and enclosed trailer, but your car must be operable. You can also consider getting one of the best car insurance for young drivers. That isn’t your only option – you can also figure out your own cheapest way to ship a car and avoid working with a company, but then you might not get a door to door auto transport, and your car might get damaged. Once you’re here, you will need a new driver’s license, and you need to check out how to register your car in a new state. If you own an expensive model or a modified one, consider enclosed auto transport since it offers maximum protection to your four-wheeler.