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Feb 06 2007

Driving in Chicago–a primer

I learned to drive in Chicago. I believe it has scarred…uh…prepared me for life.

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First you must learn to pronounce the city name. It is “Shi-caw-go,” or “Cha-ca-ga” depending on if you live north or south of Roosevelt Road. Next, if your raod map is more than a few months old, throw it out and buy a new one. If in Naperville and your map is one week old, then it is already obsolete.

Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Chicago has its own version of traffic rules: “Hold on and pray.” There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Chicago. We all drive like that.

All directions start with “I-94″…which has no beginning and no end.

The morning rush hour is from 6-10. The evening rush hour is from 3-7.

Friday’s rush hour begins Thursday morning.

If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out and possibly shot. When you are the first one on the starting line, count to five when the light turns green before moving to avoid crashing with all the drivers running the red light in cross traffic.

Construction on the Northwest Tollway is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment. We had soooo much fun with that that we have added Elgin-O’Hare and I-355 to the mix.

All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, “Oh, we’re in Cicero!”

If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect.

Car horns are actually “Road Rage” indicators.

All old ladies with blue hair in Mercedes’ have the right of way. Period.

First Ave., LaGrange Rd., Northwest Hwy. all mysteriously change names as you cross intersections (these are only a FEW examples).

If asking directions in Cicero you must have knowledge of Spanish. If in Bridgeport, Mandarin Chinese will be your best bet. If you stop to ask directions on the West Side or South Side, you’d better be armed.

A trip across town (east to west) will take a minimum of 4 hours, although many expressways have unposted minimum speeds of 75 mph. The minimum acceptable speed on the Dan Ryan is 85 mph. Anything less is considered downright sissy.

The wrought iron bars on windows in Englewood and Austin are not ornamental.

The Eisenhower Expressway is our daily version of NASCAR. The Dan Ryan is called “The Death Trap” for two reasons: “death” and “trap.”

If you go to Wrigley Field, pay the $25 to park in “Cubs Lot” parking; parking elsewhere could cost up to $2500 for damages, towing fees, parking tickets, etc. If some guy with a flag tries to get you to park in his “yard,” run over him.
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Tomorrow: “You might be from Chicago if…”

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