Living in Chicago, I have become accustomed to the usual traffic annoyances that plague our city. When I speak of annoyances, I tend to think of the time I spent in a single lane construction zones while the person ahead of me insists that making a left turn is a brilliant idea or the Lexus that cut me off three times in a span of two blocks (use of turn signals were lacking), or even the parking police that tend to be overzealous in writing a ticket… or three. In spite of all of these daily bothers, I still prefer to enjoy the area of asphalt under my car and drive around this great city. But what happens when that asphalt is covered in rain, snow, sleet, dirt or Old Style beer?
It is true that driving in Chicago is about as predictable as the weather, but so long as you are prepared, then your vehicle could become your own mobile sanctuary when the unexpected occurs. Take last night for example- At approximately 9:53 CST, our Chicago Blackhawks won the 2013 Stanley Cup (hell yes!) and approximately ten minutes later, the street was littered with red shirts and crappy beer. While the city celebrated the victory (myself included), unaware motorists found themselves trapped in the celebration. So what do you do?
Having been stuck in literally standstill traffic too many times to care to remember, I have a few tips to survive motoring chaos:
- Before even getting in your vehicle, look around. Do you see throngs of people wearing sports jerseys or carrying around autographed team memorabilia? If so, hit the internet right away. Chances are, there may be a big game or convention in town that might choke up traffic. **NOTE: This observation skill also applies to people wearing excessive winter clothing and spreading salt onto sidewalks**
- Once you have established that the possibility of a celebration (or riot, due to loss… No offense Vancouver) may be imminent, you need to make a choice- Leave your car, toss on a team jersey and grab a drink or put on a racing helmet and try to beat the crowd. If you choose to try the latter, use an GPS based mapping software that shows real-time traffic updates to pick your route.
- Now that your have a route figured out, fill up the tank, grab some drinks and snacks, proceed with caution and continue to be on alert for the unexpected.
Chances are, in spite all of your careful planning, calculated routing and use of trinkets to bring you good luck, you may still find yourself stuck in a celebration induced traffic jam. NOW WHAT?!?
- Do NOT abandon your vehicle. No matter how tempting it may be to take a “hit” off of a Blackhawks red beer bong being carried by a 22 year old in a Hossa jersey, STAY WITH YOUR CAR! Chances are if you leave your vehicle alone, it may become a surface for a beer pong tournament, the impromptu love shack for two starry-eyed hockey romantics, or worse- Impounded by the City.
- If you do find yourself “trapped” and have no desire whatsoever to join the “party on the pavement,” I strongly suggest you take a deep breath and breathe. Honking, revving the engine, flashing the lights will annoy nobody, but yourself. You MUST accept that your vehicle is now your home for the next few hours, so get comfortable.
- Maybe comfort isn’t your thing? If not, grab your camera phone, and start playing the role of a news reporter. Who knows, maybe you capture a shot that makes the front page or capture some very newsworthy footage?
Regardless of you choose to pass time while sitting in traffic, the important thing is to remain calm and try to stay optimistic. After all, you might find yourself in the middle of a once in a lifetime event that may never repeated? It’s times like that, where you can brag years later and say “I was there!”
Do you have any automotive questions that you would like answered or topics you would like to discuss? Feel free to ask away in the comment section.
Follow me on Twitter @MrJohnnyBones
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.