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Report: Area drivers collide every 8 years

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT

When was the last time you were involved in a fender bender? If it’s been nearly eight years, start keeping an extra eye open while you’re on the road. Allstate Insurance reports that Chicago-area drivers collide with one another every eight years.

Chicagoans crash into one another about 25 percent more often than then national average.

To keep your odds low, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Although the GPS might chirp that you should reach your destination in less than 10 minutes, gridlock, pedestrians, slow trucks and a variety of events can all work against you to extend that 10 minutes to 20 or more. If you always assume you need extra time to get where you’re going, you’ll be more relaxed on the road and less likely to rumble with fellow drivers.

Also pay attention to the traffic and news reports before you leave your home or office. If the governor is riding in a motorcade down your route during rush hour, for example, you’ll know to find an alternative route to avoid the chaos. One father attended a baseball game over the summer only to find his way home completely blocked by Taylor Swift’s entourage and a police escort as she left the game.

Staying alert will also help. City traffic is stop and go much of the time anyway; be prepared to stop for pedestrians darting into the street, emergency vehicles or public transportation.

Last, don’t leave home without directions. Even if you have GPS, enter the address before you step on the gas pedal and be sure you skim through the directions at least briefly to get a good feel for the distances you’ll travel and forks in the road that could be confusing. If you get lost, don’t make the amateur mistake of trying to correct your GPS while on the move. Pull over, figure out what’s wrong with the directions, and wait until you’re calm to get back in gear.

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