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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. 



5 Items Everyone Should Have Before Biking In The Rain

Today is the first day of spring, and we all know that April showers bring May flowers, especially given the fact that California just experienced its rainiest winter in years. Weather reports already indicate that two storm systems are headed straight for Southern California.

If biking is your preferred mode of transportation, things can get a little difficult when you add some rain to the mix. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s five items you should always have before biking in the rain.Cyclling Red Bike

1. Bike fender:  Fender’s are absolutely essential, especially after a long night of rain, when you know there will be puddles all over campus.

Without a fender, your rear tire will deposit all the water from a puddle straight to your back or legs.

Having to sit through work or through numerous lectures with a muddy back is not the ideal way to start off your day. Make sure to purchase and install your very own bike fender.

2. Rain jacket:  You know what’s worse than walking around all day with a wet back? Walking around all day wet all over.

Always make sure you have a rain jacket on before you head out on your commute. If you are planning on purchasing one, be sure to grab one with a large hood that is actually waterproof.

3. Rain boots and rain pants:  To avoid walking around campus with wet socks and wet bottoms, make sure to purchase your very own pair of rain pants and rain boots. Sure, you won’t be making a fashion statement in these, but you’ll be glad you wore them at the end Feeling protected in her boots.of the day. Trust me.

If rain pants and rain boots are not your thing, look into an alternative like yoga pants or pants of some other thin, quick drying material. Rain shoes are also just as helpful!

4. Bike seat cover:  No need to carry around paper towels! Buy a waterproof seat cover and say goodbye to your worries.

5. Gloves:  You know what's hard and at times, almost impossible? Locking/unlocking your bike with freezing, slippery fingers. Gloves will not only greatly improve your storm glovesentire trip to campus, but they will also allow you to begin typing and writing as soon as you arrive to class or at your desk, since your hands will actually be warm this time around.

Here’s a tip: buy a pair where the thumb and finger are smartphone compatible so that you can still listen to all your favorite podcasts and music on your way to campus.




How to Stay Safe During El Nino

Heavy rainstorm

Heavy rainstormEl Nino has arrived. Traffic conditions are unfortunately heavier. The LA River is generously flowing. And then there's that video of a train of trash cans being carried down the street in a flood of water.

We Southern Californians aren't used to the rain. I mean, this is pretty much how we deal with it when it comes. So in case you don't know what to do to stay safe, I've compiled a list of tips to help you navigate through this stormy weather.

  1. Make sure your windshield wipers, headlights and turn signals are working properly. Also, if your wipers are on, turn your headlights on too. It's the law.
  2. Take your time, slow down and leave more room. The maximum posted speed limit may not apply under wet or icy road conditions. And keep in mind that your vehicle needs at least three times more distance to stop on slick roads.
  3. Be prepared in case of an emergency on the road. Travel with tire chains and tighteners, a flashlight and batteries, flares, a small shovel, a first-aid kit, a windshield scraper, extra clothes that are both warm and waterproof, blankets, snacks and drinking water. Above all, bring a backup power source for your cellphone.
  4. Power up on sleep and avoid driving if you're overly tired. Driving while tired is always dangerous but this danger increases during stormy weather.
  5. Drive cautiously and stay alert. Bridges, overpasses and shaded spots are a special danger because ice often forms first in these areas. Ever heard of hydroplaning? You don't want that to happen. Learn to read road conditions to anticipate a hazard.
  6. If you and your vehicle became swarmed with fog, slow down immediately. Use your low-beam lights, and don't stop on a highway unless it's an emergency.

The LA Times put together this nifty, retro-looking video to show you "How to Drive in the Rain." They also have some pretty salient tips on how to stay safe when you're not behind the wheel.


5 Tips for Riding Your Bike During Winter

Cyclist in rain

Cyclist in rain

  1. Have Waterproof Gear: Always carry waterproof pants, a rain jacket and rain boots, if possible. Don’t get caught in unexpected rain. You don’t want to arrive at your destination drenched. Even having a folded-up rain poncho in your backpack will help immensely.
  1. It’s All About the Brakes: Slippery roads mean top-notch brakes. Learn to adjust your own brakes or take it to the bike shop and have someone do it for you. Either way, get it done. Make sure your brake pads are clean from leaves or mud. You also might want to brush up on your wet-braking techniques and consider getting a bike with disc brakes, which increases your braking power. And remember to brake more on the rear wheel, and do it slowly to prevent spinouts. Give yourself twice the amount of time to come to a stop as you would in the summer.
  1. Light it Up: Don’t underestimate the importance of proper lighting. Wear reflective gear wherever and whenever possible to make yourself visible to motorists during low light, bad weather and dark night riding conditions.
  1. Don’t Forget Your Fingers and Toes: Ever wonder why it’s easier to dip your feet into a super-hot tub or ice-cold pool first before jumping in? It’s because your feet, hands and head serve as barometers for the rest of your body. If you keep your extremities and your dome nice and toasty with gloves, an under-the-helmet beanie and good socks, your whole body will feel nice and toasty too.
  1. Safety First: Motorists are less aware of bikers in the winter, especially if it’s raining. Ride defensively and be sure to make eye contact with drivers. Also, be prepared. Plan a sensible route to match the weather forecast.


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.