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.