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Tourist traffic can lead to dangerous traffic jams

Tourism is a part of life in Chicago, so it’s not a surprise when the roads are backed up or when collisions take place with those who aren’t familiar with the city. Normally, you’d take public transportation or walk to where you want to go, but having to go across town, you opted to drive. That choice led to a crash on the way, as a tourist trying to get around stopped traffic used the shoulder to try to pass. Unfortunately, you were turning, and they T-boned you.

Situations like this aren’t uncommon as people rush to reach their destinations. It’s particularly common to see people drive in an unsafe manner when traffic has been stopped for a long time or when it’s moving slowly. They may try to use the shoulder to get to the intersection and turn while trapped behind traffic moving straight ahead, or they might think they can use the shoulder to merge further up the line, even though other drivers won’t be looking to the right for people trying to merge.

What should you do if you’re caught in a traffic jam or have to cross traffic when multiple vehicles are backed up?

If you have to cross multiple lanes of backed up traffic, you need to be extremely cautious. You should pass only one vehicle and lane at a time, looking both ways to make sure no one else is coming. This is very important in situations where one or two drivers may see you attempting to turn and leave a space for you. Those in the furthest lane may not see you coming or may not be paying attention. It’s most common to have this problem outside intersections, like when you want to turn onto a neighborhood street from a main roadway that is backed up.

If you are in backed up traffic and have been waiting a long time to move, remember to be patient. Even if you can see a straight, clear path to the intersection ahead, it’s best to wait until you reach the intersection in your lane. Using the hard shoulder can cause a crash, and it blocks the shoulder from being used by emergency vehicles.

Traffic is heavy regardless of the time of year in Chicago, but if you are careful, you can make sure you and your family get to your destination without ending up in a crash.

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