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10 Tips to Help You Drive Safely in the Rain

Driving in rain

Rainy road with car

After just experiencing our first bout of heavy rain in 2018, we thought it'd be wise to remind all Angelenos how to drive on wet roads. This week’s storm has created some very dangerous conditions to be aware of. Because of Southern California's notoriously dry weather, rain water makes the roads slick with oil. This, paired with low visibility, can be a recipe for disaster. Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving on rainy roads:

1. Slow down

Did you know that “at speeds as low as 35 mph, new tires can still lose some contact with the roadway,” as stated by AAA. Even if it takes twice the amount of time usually spent on your regular commute, the loss of time is worth the prevention of the loss of lives.

2. Check your car before driving

Ensure that all parts of your vehicle (especially your wipers, lights, and turn signals) are functioning properly before getting behind the wheel. Also, check your tire tread to make sure your tires aren't slick.

3. Cancel cruise control

It’s all too easy to hydroplane while on cruise control. In order to be able to make the quick adjustments and reactions necessary in rainy conditions, control speed manually.

4. Turn your lights on

It's the law in California to turn your headlights on during rain, even in broad daylight. It'll help other vehicles see you.

5. Be alert

Please avoid sudden braking or sharp turning, and try to drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. Doing these will prevent accidents from happening. Additionally, steer clear of puddles as these may be disguising dangerous potholes.

6. Keep a safe distance

That being said, try to maintain a greater distance between your car and those in front (an extra 1-2 seconds) and around you. If any sudden swerving or braking does occur, this will keep you from harm's way.

7. Know what to do if a skid occurs

AAA suggests that you “continue to look and steer in the direction in which the driver wants the car to go,” and, “avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.”

8. Do things one-at-a-time

Brake before continuing to turn, and only then, accelerate.

9. Don’t attempt to drive in flooded areas and check the weather

If an area seems to have very deep water, please attempt to find another route instead of taking a risk. Check the weather before driving. If rainfall seems particularly heavy, consider driving at a later time.

10. Be extra careful when driving around curves and on-ramps

These spots have proven themselves to be the most dangerous areas of road during stormy weather.

Check out this cool "How to Drive in Heavy Rain" video by Ford. 

 

 

America’s Most Transit-Friendly Cities

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CA

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CALos Angeles is an amazing city, famous for its near perfect weather, outdoor activities and its close proximity to famed beaches. In fact, Los Angeles might be considered America’s most perfect city if it weren’t for its notorious traffic.

But is the traffic really that bad? Not so, says a recent Trulia article, Driving vs. Public Transit: The Search for a Better Commute. According to data analysis, the average driver’s commute was just 28 minutes, placing Los Angeles in 14th place among the nation’s largest cities.

Additionally, the research shows that the average transit commute was a modest 49 minutes. While transit commutes may take a bit longer, transit users enjoy the freedom to read, work or nap during their commute to work, a luxury not afforded to drivers stuck behind the wheel of a car. And, with less cars on the road, less pollutants are going into the atmosphere each day, making transit commuters green commuters.

The City of Los Angeles recently opened several new transit stations, and many more are planned over the next few years. Neighborhoods near these stations are growing in popularity and rental rates in these neighborhoods have increased. But consider the savings of fuel, vehicle repairs, parking fees and the planet.

While apartment homes situated right next to transit stations may charge higher rental rates, moderately-priced apartments within a half mile of transit stations are readily available in neighborhoods such as:

Westwood - A well-trafficked neighborhood, best known for the Geffen Playhouse and UCLA.

Palms - Dubbed as one of the best neighborhoods for Millennials, located on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Greater Wilshire - A densely populated, middle-class neighborhood, surrounded by museums, multi-cultural influences and historic sites.

Residents of these popular neighborhoods enjoy a less than 30-minute commute into the heart of LA each day.

So which cities are the most transit-friendly? Portlant, St. Louis and Chicago topped the rankings, followed by New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The least transit-friendly markets were Baltimore, Oakland and Riverside.

More information about the transit study, click here.

RNT_2016_V3_blog_inline_transit

 

 

 

Navigating the Roads the Green Way

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CA

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CAAre you a recent graduate? Headed off to college? How do you plan to get around town?

If you have a driver's license, you're probably thinking about getting behind the wheel. Driving in LA is a unique (and unavoidable) beast that gives you insights into other people and lessons in the local culture. But driving in LA the green way will help safeguard our future. Start developing green habits now with these tips.

  1. Learning California (& LA) Rules of the RoadLA Weekly’s less subjective observations are worth taking into consideration, such as protecting your left side from the sun, LA drivers' lack of experience with rain (you remember rain, right?) and unexpected, off-rush hour traffic jams.These are things you'll pick up with driving experience. For now, you first need to learn to drive according to California's road rules, which, in theory, supersede LA's.Before you get into a car and start driving these hallowed freeways, take an online driving assessment and an interactive test. It's definitely worth finding out how much you don't know about driving in California or any other state.
  1. Driving Green Brings Rebates & PrivilegesIn California, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project hands back up to $2,500 for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), $1,500 for plugin hybrids, and $900 for electric motorcycles and those tiny neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) you see on surface streets.Many states allow green vehicles to use the express/HOV lanes, so you can get to work (and home) sooner.
  1. Green Cars are Getting More AffordableYou wouldn't know it from the headlines, but Tesla is not your only option. Green vehicles are becoming increasingly more affordable.Autobytel.com lists the 2015 Prius at under $20,000. Electric cars are more expensive than hybrids; still, several list under $30,000. While this may seem like a lot of money, remember that gasoline prices are unstable at best, so consider your long-term savings.Additionally, more than half of U.S. states offer some kind of incentive for purchasing electric or hybrid cars, according to PlugInAmerica.org.Hybrid and electric cars have been on the market for several years now, so you could also consider buying a used one to save more money. A secondhand one can be more affordable than you might realize, even on a starter salary.
  1. Public Transport: The Ultimate in Green TransportationIn many cities like New York City, commuting via public transportation is normal and preferable to driving.Business Insider says LA has the ninth best public transportation in the nation. It has a huge bus ridership, and is channeling a few billion dollars into its light rail system, which will also alleviate road traffic. And like many cities, LA runs a bikes-on-buses service so commuters who really work out of the way can still get there without a car.

 

How to drive safely in the rain?

Ian Britton

Ian BrittonDriving in the rain can be challenging, especially for young and inexperienced drivers. The windows become foggy, the lights from the other cars can cause blindness, and roads get slippery, which can lead to hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning occurs when water builds up under the car’s front tires, causing the car to lose contact with the road and slide.

With nearly 1.2 million traffic accidents each year due to wet pavement, it is important to always use caution in rainy and wet conditions. In the upcoming months, if you’re caught driving in the rain, these simple tips can avoid accidents and save a life.

  1. Leave room, drive slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Drivers should reduce their speed accordingly to the amount of water on the roadway. To avoid the risk of skidding, steer and brake lightly. Do not brake hard or lock the wheels when stopping or slowing down. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.
  2. Turn on your headlights. According to the California Department of Motors Vehicles, California law requires drivers to use their headlights when low visibility requires the use of windshield wipers.
  3. If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows down and you can feel the road again. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally. The car's computer will automatically pump the brakes more efficiently than a person.
  4. Check your tires often. Avoid hydroplaning by keeping your tires inflated correctly. Maintain good tire tread. Don't put off replacing worn tires.
  5. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.
  6. Avoid Cruise Control. Most modern cars feature cruise control. This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle increase.
  7. Keep your eyes on the road. When driving in wet-weather conditions, it is important to fully concentrate on the road and driving.

Best traffic information sources

traffic4051

Whether it is through a smartphone app, a phone call or a website, there are many ways of gathering real-time traffic information. To make your search easier, we have put together a list of some of the best traffic information sources. Plan your commute accordingly and remain up-to-date on traffic by using these helpful sources:

Apps (Also available as websites)

Waze  Waze-logo[1]

Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app that allows drivers to share real time traffic and road information to improve daily commuting for all. By driving with the app open, users passively contribute traffic and other road data. Users can also opt to take a more active role by reporting information on accidents, police traps and other hazards. Amongst other perks, one can also get road alerts on route, find cheap gas stations with community-shared fuel prices and coordinate and meet up with friends easier

Features:

  • Turn-by-turn voice guided navigation
  • Live maps, consistently edited and updated by Waze community editors
  • Automatic re-routing as conditions change on the roads
  • App learns frequent destinations, commuting hours and preferred routes

 

sigalert.comSigAlert_Logo[1]

Sigalert features constantly updated, real-time road speeds, around the clock traffic reports from CHP and the largest network of roadside traffic cameras in the U.S. It provides you with detailed speed information and 24/7 coverage of road conditions.

Features:

  • Real-time traffic map
    • With Sigalert's incredibly detailed speed information, users know when traffic is moving 25 miles per hour and when it's moving 40 miles per hour
  • 24/7 speed, accident and construction coverage
    • Sigalert features Total Traffic data. Their around-the-clock coverage of road conditions comes from hundreds of professional traffic reporters stationed in state-of-the art data centers across the U.S.
  • Extensive traffic camera network
  • Personalized routes showing only the conditions on your drive
  • Traffic detail with just a tap of the map
  • Automatic track of GPS while you drive

 

Go511.com 511_Logo[1]

Go511 allows commuters to select what information and features they want to see displayed on the map. Go511 provides up-to-the-minute traffic updates for 5 counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.

Features:

  • Real-time traffic, live traffic alerts, speeds and details including SigAlerts and roadwork.
    • The alerts bar, located at the top of the screen, features significant incidents or changes to road conditions that could impact your commute
  • Freeway cameras that allow you to see live road conditions
  • The app offers an option to connect you directly to 511 and get information over the phone
  • Share feedback and comment by tapping on the "More" section of the menu

 

Web Mapping

Google maps (Google traffic) Google-Map-Word-Logo[1]

Google's web mapping software provides commuters with accurate maps and voice guided GPS navigation for driving when using the app. It also features live traffic conditions, incident reports, and automatic re-routing to find the best route.

Features:

  • Route planning
  • Displays traffic conditions in real-time major roads and highways.
  • Analyzes the GPS determined locations transmitted to them by a large number of users
  • Traffic appears by selecting "Traffic" from the drop-down menu. The colored overlay appears on major roads and highways in which green, red, yellow and gray (no data) are the main colors
  • Can use search to display traffic in a particular area
  • Provides the option of viewing "Typical Traffic" by selecting day and time
  • Traffic incidents are displayed
  • Street view and indoor imagery for places

 

bing™ maps Bing-Maps-logo[1]

With bing™ maps, users can view current traffic information for major highways and roads. As a user, you have options to make your travel easier by searching for routes that avoid highways and toll roads. You can save your destination history and take advantage of the easy-to-share maps.

Features:

  • User is able to choose best route to destination by selecting the "view route based on traffic" option
  • Maps are equipped with incident icons that provide detailed information on incident category, description, location as well as start and approximate end time
  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Bird's eye view, a better angle of aerial view

 

Radio

KNX AM 1070 knx-logo[1]

KNX AM 1070 is Southern California’s only all-news radio station serving Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and San Diego County. You will not only be informed on the latest news of the day, but you will also be receiving great up-to-date information on traffic issues in your local area.

Features:

  • All day information on traffic “Traffic & Weather Together on the 5s”
  • Also on transmitted on FM at 97.1 HD-2
  • Informational twitter account on https://twitter.com/KNX1070

 

Phone

511 511-travel-info-300x198[1]

To get traffic information from any phone, you need only dial 511. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system will direct you though different channels to get you the most accurate information.

Features:

  • Traffic reports on freeway traffic speeds, travel times, and planned closures
  • Roadside assistance
  • Touchtone keypad capability. If IVR is unable to detect your voice responses, you can switch to using the keypad only by entering *8. To return to using IVR, simply press *8 again
  • Operators are standing by in case the IVR system is unable to provide a satisfying response
  • If you are having trouble connecting to 511, simply call 877.22.Go511 (877.224.6511)
  • IVR system in Spanish is coming soon

 

Twitter

@CHPsouthern Capture

CHPsouthern is the official source of news and information from and about the CA Highway Patrol's Southern Division (LA County)

Features