Chicago may be the only city in the snow belt where residents use lawn chairs to hold parking spaces. As the city’s administrators crack down on this time-honored practice, its residents will need new techniques to find and hold parking spots. Driving and parking when the snow and sleet begins to accumulate is never easy in Chicago or anywhere else, and everyone can benefit from the top five tips for safe winter driving and parking in Chicago.
1. Your SUV is not impervious to snow and ice. You will feel more comfortable and safe in a large SUV or other large vehicle when you are driving in the snow, but many rear-drive vehicles have poor traction because most of their weight is distributed over the front axles, where the engine is located. If your vehicle is equipped with a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive system, use it to optimize your safety.
2. If you start to skid, turn your wheels counter to the direction of the skid. You probably heard this in driver’s ed, but you also probably never had a chance to practice it. The advice may be counter-intuitive, but if you do start to skid, do not hit the breaks. Instead, take your foot off the gas slowly and turn the wheel so your front wheels re-align themselves with the road. The car will slow gradually and straighten itself, allowing you to recover from the skid.
3. If you get stuck, rock the car back and forth and keep your front wheels straight. Most people know to rock the car, but they try to turn out of a snow pile at the same time as they rock the car. The car will free itself more readily if it goes straight ahead without trying to turn.
4. Don’t be a parking hog. When you do find a parking spot in the snow, use only one spot. Respect the other drivers’ desire to find their own parking spots. If you take two spots in order to leave yourself room to drive away, you will be lucky if the worst consequence is a nasty note on your windshield.
5. Use new technology to locate parking spots before you head out. New apps from companies like ParqEx will provide the convenience and security of available parking in your desired location before you arrive. You can use the ParqEx app to reserve your spot before you leave your home, reducing at least one element of the stress you will experience when you head out into the Chicago winter.
Please contact us for additional tips on driving and parking in Chicago during the winter, and for more information on how our ParqEx app can help you find winter parking in Chicago.