Chicago Driving is either Very Fast or Very Slow

Chicago has much to offer, with Cubs and White Sox baseball, Bears football, tall skyscrapers, great museums, art and culture, and delicious Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and hot dogs on practically every corner. But driving there can sometimes be a real hassle.

Traffic in the Windy City is very stop and go, as in go very fast and stop very suddenly. Many highways have express lanes, which are a welcome edition, but during rush hour things still get bogged down. With a population of almost 2.9 million, that’s to be expected from the third largest city in the nation. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, three of the top 25 worst physical bottlenecks in the United States are in Chicago, ranking #3, #11, and #19. Chicago is tied with Washington, D.C. as the metro area with the biggest congestion problem. You can expect to lose an average of 70 hours a year stuck in traffic.

When cars are moving they move fast, dashing in and out of lanes and over to exit ramps with little or no warning. The red glow of brake lights is the thing you’ll notice most in the many tunnels along the Interstate or at night. This can be a very trying experience for your car. No one likes to be stuck in the narrow breakdown lane along the Dan Ryan with traffic flying by.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure your vehicle is in good shape, especially in such a demanding city. Car service in Chicago is easy to find if you don’t want to do things yourself. However, if you’re inclined, there are a couple easy tune-ups you can perform. Make sure your tires and fluids are at the proper levels. Don’t let you gas go below a quater of a tank because the gas keeps the fuel pump cool. If this happens every now and then it’s not a major deal, but doing it on a regular basis will cause the pump to fail. Make sure you’re getting regular oil changes. Most shops recommend servicing your oil at regular 3,000 mile intervals. Don’t let that little reminder sticker they put in the upper left corner of your windshield go out of date.

Regular maintenance will cut down on the number of potential problems for your vehicle. That’s where an expert mechanic comes in. However, many car repair decisions are financially driven at the expense of safety. You need to think of it like insurance: a necessary expense in exchange for peace of mind.


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