An Open Letter to Chicago Motorists: It's Just Rain

Now I’m not a meteorologist, or historian, but…. it’s rained in Chicago before…right?

I mean…like since there’s been cars and roads?

Ok ok, that’s what I thought.

It’s just that….you guys drive as though you’ve never encountered rain.

As though these large, expensive, mobile machines we call cars, are not equipped to handle…water.

As though the windshield wiper, (circa 1903) is simply a "that’s awesome-imagine if we had that!" prop in a futuristic science fiction movie.

Look, I’m all for safe and cautious driving, for making reasonable, and responsible adjustments based on road conditions. That said, going at least 45 mph when it’s drizzling (10 below the speed limit in Chicago) does not equate to reckless driving-nor does going 55 mph make you the Evel Knievel of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

A couple other suggestions to deal with the ferocious, unrelenting hand of Mother Nature (e.g. Unremarkable Rain/Slight Wind):

  • Put the iPhone down: Kevin can wait to hear about how you "slammed 14 beers last night bro!". Surprisingly, the Twitter community can go without your clever insights for a little while as well (e.g. "iSad"). You can also put off checking the Jersey Shore message boards for reactions to last nights episode …or you can realize you’re an adult, and that the show is historically, unprecedentedly….stupid-yea that works, and not watch or discuss the show at all. I digress.
  • Put your Hardee’s Monster Thick Burger down.
  • Don’t put makeup on/shave as you drive.
  • Don’t be on your iPhone as you ingest a Frisbee sized burger, while your attempting to make your appearance satisfactory for public viewing.

And while I’m at it, please stop waiting until the last possible second to merge. You knew you needed to get in this lane 3 miles ago-yet you attempt to beat the traffic by pretending you’re sticking with one lane (think Cermack/22nd St Exit),  and then , at the point when only clueless tourists should be  allowed to switch,  shamelessly sneak  in the other lane (think I 90/94). It exacerbates traffic, it’s annoying, it’s unethical , and it makes me want to shoot your car with a missile (Think Twisted Metal-the game anyone and everyone with a Playstation 1 had).

So: hit the gas, utilize the brake as necessary, employ the windshield wipers, stop watching the Jersey Shore, don’t drive below 45 mph because it’s drizzling, eat the Frisbee with Cheese later, don’t engage in unethical road behavior worthy of being blown up by a Sadistic Ice Cream Truck provided missile, and just DRIVE.


Be Good Friends,






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  • Its also not acceptable to be going 35 MPH getting on an expressway, even if its raining...its not a monsoon its just drizzle

  • In reply to mewapinski:

    Also, in addition to the road and written test, all drivers who are attempting to obtain their license should have to read this article and then be quizzed on its contents. I hope your drive to work tomorrow is better than today's buddy

  • In reply to mewapinski:

    Monsoon is wind, not rain.

  • Where is there a Hardees?

    Just kidding. It took me 15 minutes to go less than 4 miles. I was behind someone doing 20 miles per hour. I wanted to ram them.

  • In reply to David W. Quinn:

    If you get so annoyed you shouldn't be driving.

  • Dave, "I wanted to ram them", made me literally lol. And that's bad being that I'm at work, where laughing...especially out loud, is strictly prohibited.

    Thanks for the comment man.

  • THANK YOU!!!!! My 1:15 commute has been 2+ hours for the past two days. Drive, people!!!!!!

    P.S. I also would like to know where I can find a Hardees.

  • In reply to Chicago Quirk:

    Hey Andrea. Thanks for checking out the rant and for your comment/tweet. Unfortunately the closest Hardees is in Portage, IN, so we may need to look into other delicious means of killing ourselves slowly. BTW, really enjoy your work-with Medieval Times yes, but moreover with the blog! I think its refreshingly unique-and really offers some great suggestions on how to stay entertained in this Hardeeless City full of terrible drivers.

  • Sorry if this is a duplicate (or triplicate) comment - I tried twice to post with embedded links and it didn't show up. Let's try it this way ...

    The Minnesota Dept of Transportation disagrees with you about when to merge when a lane reduction is ahead: The key is to use all of the lane space that's available and - if everyone cooperates - merge just as the lane is ending:

    I also found a blogger who does a pretty good job explaining why it is our habit of merging early, not the late merging, that "exacerbates traffic".

    Although, most of the drivers around me seem to disagree with this when I try to merge "correctly".

  • The Minnesota Dept of Transportation disagrees with you about when to merge when a lane reduction is ahead: The key is to use all of the lane space that's available and - if everyone cooperates - merge just as the lane is ending.

    I also found a bloggerwho does a pretty good job explaining why it is our habit of merging early, not the late merging, that "exacerbates traffic".

    Of course, most of the drivers around me seem to disagree with this when I try to merge "correctly".

  • In reply to Ed Nickow:

    Ed, thanks for checking out the article and for your info. I think my explanation may have been a bit off. I was angry, tired and needed coffee. Let's say at the point when two expressways/highways-or even local/express lanes diverge, you have a driver who for the entire drive knows which one he/she needs to utilize, yet because of traffic on that required lane/side, takes the less congested route and then at the last possible moment, and sneaks in the other lane-it's essentially trying to go to the front of the line without waiting your turn. It also makes the line move slower. The merging issue per se is probably more appicable, in the way you're thinking, to the 290 W Suburbs/Congress Parkway exit-which is a cluster you know what every morning.

  • In reply to koolking83:

    Indeed, the situation you describe is different than the lane reduction to which I referred. It looks like I didn't read the original post carefully enough - and I do agree with the other issues you addressed.

    You are exactly right about the Kennedy/Edens junction (I90-94). And it's not just the unethical nature of sneaking in at the last minute. It's downright dangerous. I've seen cars come to a dead stop (in what ends up being the left lane on the Edens) waiting for someone to let them move over to the Kennedy lanes. I'm surprised there aren't more rear-end collisions.

    The same junction, going southbound, is a traffic nightmare as well and it more what I was imagining - a lane reduction. But because it's the lanes in the middle that "disappear" most people follow the "zipper merge" technique and nobody seems to be getting ready to shoot missiles.

  • In reply to Ed Nickow:

    Ed, sorry, let me add this. I understand the concept of "not letting the other lane go to waste"-of course that would be silly. But A. I'm not referring to a situation where a lane is suddenly closing (like the 290w suburb/congress pkway example), but when all lanes are open, and at one point simply diverge. B. This is a bit of an chicken/egg situation, because when traffic is light/moderate, behaving in the manner I denounce, is even more problematic-it slows things down, where as with heavy traffic, your approach may make more sense. But does the former cause traffic to become worse, making the latter a reality? IDK, let's just blame the rain and the Jersey Shore.

  • In reply to Ed Nickow:

    When people merge has no impact on the OVERALL flow of traffic. The critical path is the merge point. It's inconsistency in where people merge that creates unfairness (some merge later and pass all the people that merged earlier) but it has no impact on the flow of traffic.

  • All I know is that when koolking starts breaking down his arguments into alphabetical capitalized prompts and/or bullet's over.

    Incidentally, The Situation hates this article.

  • Thank you for writing this post! Someone had to say this. I've always told me kids that when it rains in Chicago everyone's IQ drops 20 points.

    In addition, what is with the truck drivers talking on the cell phones while weaving in and out of traffic?

    And here's what you should do about people who drive on the shoulder or in other non-lanes so they can pass everyone. Keep an eye out for them and when you see them coming pull over to block them.

  • Your best point, mr. anonymous writer, is:

    Put the iPhone down.

    Um, put ALL your phones down -iphones or otherwise. I used to be with you re: slow driving during rain, but now I'm grateful for it. 2 nights ago, during rain, some idiot on her phone couldn't be bothered to pay attention, and at 40 mph slammed into a car carrying my 3-year-old niece.
    If you talk or text while driving (even on a hands-free) you're an idiot. The lives around you (and in your own car) are more important than some stupid call or text.

    Lost? Need directions? Pull the eff over.

  • fb_avatar

    Besides all the issues you raised, I think you left out one very important one. When did the left lane become the slow lane and the right lane become the passing lane? How many times have you been in the left lane behind a row of cars going slower than the right lane?

    I remember from my driver's ed. class back in the 70's that the left lane was for passing and that you are supposed to stay in the right, or slower, lane unless you were passing. Is that not taught anymore?

    I guess I am going to have to wait until I have to take the written test for my license renewal to see if that even comes up on the test.

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