Driving in the Rain
Southern California is not getting lots of rain this winter season; but like any other weather condition, when it does rain, that rain has an effect on road conditions. Cooler weather and wet roads significantly increase the chances of an auto accident.
There are some extra precautions you should take while driving in moderate to heavy rainfall in order to avoid a wreck. The extra attention you give to driving while travelling on wet roads might save your life (and the lives of others).
The LA Times offers some great tips on driving in the rain, beginning with “panning and scanning.” Scan the roadway with your eyes as you drive in order to avoid debris and other vehicles that may have been rendered immobile by the storm.
Speeding is hazardous no matter what kind of weather you’re driving in, but speeding is even more dangerous on a wet road. Slow down. Driving at a reduced speed allows you to stop more suddenly if hazards sneak up on you in minimal visibility driving conditions.
Additionally, speeding increases the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is the loss of steering or braking control when a layer of water prevents direct contact between the tires and the road’s surface. Many accidents happen every year due to hydroplaning.
When it is raining, you need to provide extra room between you and the other vehicles on the road. Vehicles need three times more stopping distance in dangerous weather conditions, especially wet pavement.
If you do find yourself hydroplaning, or skidding on wet pavement for any reason, do not slam on the brakes. Apply light pressure on the brakes and steer in the direction the car is sliding in order to regain control of your car.
Water has a tendency to collect in the outside lanes since they slope to the curbside. This means it might be safer to use the center lane of interstates. Wherever you are, take it slow and steady.
When you’re driving in the rain, you should be paying even more attention. Eating a sandwich, sipping Starbucks, and applying deodorant can wait until you are safely parked and out of the rain. This seems pretty obvious in a sentence, but it is maybe harder to follow those safety suggestions when you’re sitting behind the familiar steering wheel.
And don’t hesitate to pull over to the side of the road if visibility is extremely minimal. Playing the odds and pushing through the storm, even with every ounce of attention on the road, is sometimes not a good choice. Even the most experienced drivers are at risk in such conditions.