what’s it like to drive in illinois?

its annoying, that’s what it is. straight up.

you see, the thing is, illinois drivers are in no way aggressive. unless you’re at a traffic light.

texas drivers are aggressive in my opinion. they kind of push their way into lanes (regardless of the size of the vehicle). they don’t really plan well with when they need to make turns/exit a highway. they usually drive a lot faster (7-10mph) over the speed limit.

but here, the drivers do not drive like that; they seem to plan well, they use turning signals, they drive maybe 5 over the speed limit. all of this is fine and dandy, until you come to a traffic light…and i’m about to explain what i mean.

illinois has a severe lack of cameras at intersections. thus, a lot of drivers proceed through an intersection on red. it astounds me. probably the most often you would see this happen is if you’re trying to make a left turn. the protected arrow to turn left is usually short, so cars will proceed to the middle of an intersection until they think they can make the turn safely. this also means that you run the risk of going on red in the middle of an intersection because there was never a safe time to go when it was green, and there were cars not slowing down on yellow. it almost seems that traffic lights are more of a suggestion than the law.

well, twice in one day i had situations come up where i was unwilling to go out into the middle of an intersection (because it was clear that i wasn’t going to be able to safely make my turn), and i was verbally chastised and/or honked at. and to that i say, “i refuse to risk my life/health/car so you can get to your destination 3 minutes faster”. personally, i consider it absurd to go out into an intersection when it isn’t safe, and then to put yourself in danger of being hit if you don’t make your turn fast enough. no thank you. maybe i say this because i’m also used to cameras at intersections? or i’m not as used to having unprotected/yield lights?

i don’t know, but a $75 ticket, or waiting 3 minutes for the light to cycle through. those were the options in texas, so it always seems more logical to wait. either plan better illinois drivers, or take some paul’s patience pills (as grandma b would say).

By far one of the most interesting things about Illinois so far is the driving. we have both refused to drive to downtown Chicago as taking the train and going from union station to our destination by walking or taking the bus has suited us thus far. walking around downtown, we see enough crazy drivers. but in the ‘burbs, life is different…

Drivers will deliberately run a red a good 15 seconds after it has “suggested” you stop. then, because one lane got hosed by the drivers running the red lights, they will decide it is okay for them and this never-ending cycle of running red lights continues. in texas, drivers wouldn’t stand for that and you would definitely get hit if a driver ran the light like they do here.

But, why do they run the red light and then go 30 in a 45? it’s a mystery indeed rachel! there are on rare occasions when drivers will actually drive 15mph over the speed limit but that is only in school zones, sorry kids.

Growing up in texas and dealing with huge trucks never seeing a “small” car, by small i mean your average honda accord or toyota camry. If it isn’t a huge lincoln town car, big suburban or a dual wheel truck, you just won’t be seen on the road. maybe that is another reason the small cars go 80 on the highway, they are trying to avoid all of the trucks. drivers there aren’t perfect by no means, but i feel it is a sad day when i long for the roads and drivers of my home state. also, there just isn’t enough words to describe how maddening the drivers are here. it is a mad mad world.

learning to drive in illinois (could also be sung to the tune of tom petty’s learning to fly song)

matt and rachel


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