Safe Driving Tips for Chicagoland Drivers

2019 Toyota Yaris drives through town 

Up to 94% of people think of themselves as good drivers, but anyone who's spent time in Chicago at rush hour knows that unsafe driving practices are far from uncommon. Whether it's people rolling through stop signs or distracted drivers making unauthorized u-turns, our city is full of surprises. Thankfully, if you often drive with kids or just want to do your part to make the roads a little more friendly, there are plenty of things you can do to drive more confidently. Check out these safe driving tips with Chicagoland Northside Toyota.

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How to Be a Better Driver

  • No one is exempt from the basic best practices. Even if you're just going to the other side of Evanston, you should always wear a seatbelt, obey all road signs, and keep your attention firmly focused on the road ahead. Eliminate distractions by letting your passengers handle the music and navigation.
  • If you want to drive safely in Chicagoland, you'll need to see and be seen. Regularly check your headlights, blinkers, and taillights for proper functioning. Double-check your mirrors every time you get behind the wheel. You should always drive with your headlights on, even during the day, and you should be checking all of your mirrors as often as possible.
man buckles seat belt in 2018 Toyota Corolla
  • It's never a good idea to talk on the phone while driving, so when someone is trying to get ahold of you, remember: it can wait! Many modern vehicles include features that can help you manage contacts on the road, but it's important to focus on your primary task when you're behind the wheel.
  • Leave a large amount of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. If you have trouble with following other drivers too closely, try to remember that it should take you at least four seconds to catch up with the car in front of you, if they were to stop moving.
  • Come to a complete stop at every stop sign, and wait at least a full second before you start to move forward again. You should assume that other drivers are not following this guideline, so it never hurts to exercise extra caution at stop signs and stop lights in the city.

Staying Safe During Winter

The windy city quickly transforms into the snowy, icy city when the weather changes during the winter months, and if you've ever spent much time in Chicagoland, you already know that the weather can change at a moment's notice. We've talked about winter driving tips in the past, and here, we've identified a few best practices for drivers who just can't afford to stay home when a cold front hits:

  • Speeding will probably not help you make it to your destination more quickly--blame the other drivers if you'd like to--but it certainly increases your chances of losing control of your vehicle. This goes double if there's snow or ice on the ground. Give yourself extra time to drive if you're worried about the weather.
  • When you're dealing with snow or ice, a sharp, sudden application of the brakes could do you more harm than good. Remain attentive at all times, and give yourself enough space to apply the brakes slowly and calmly when you need to reduce your speed.
  • Carry some emergency gear in your vehicle! It's always a good idea to have a heavy blanket on hand, but that's not all. You should also carry some (glycerin) de-icer to use if your doors get locked shut. Using salt to get yourself unstuck is O.K. in an emergency, but too much salt can weaken your vehicle's defenses and make you vulnerable to corrosion.
  • If the temperatures are freezing and there's any moisture in the air, you should make the assumption that there's going to be ice on the ground. Don't wait to be surprised: remain attentive and exercise caution at all times, especially if you're moving down Lake Shore Drive.

Want to be prepared during every season? Check out our summer road trip tips today.

Get More Tips from Chicagoland Northside Toyota

Whether you live in Chicago, commute here from Lincolnwood, or just happen to be passing through, being proactive with these safe driving tips is the best way to enjoy peace of mind on your way to your favorite activities.

If you want to be even safer on your trips across Chicagoland, consider choosing a new vehicle with the best active and passive safety features that Toyota has to offer. We can also provide details about liability insurance.

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