We had our first autumn storm this past Monday, delivering some much needed rain across San Diego county. As expected, the rain also created some headaches on local freeways. The California Highway Patrol logged 245 collisions, between midnight and 4 p.m., compared to the average 140 crashes on a dry weather day.
With significantly more rain expected this fall, here are a few tips on how to stay safe on the roads.
Even with a small amount of water on the road, as little as 1/12 inch, cars can still hyrdroplane and lose contact with the road. To reduce the chances of hydroplaning, slow down, avoid hard braking and sharp turns, and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. If you do hydroplane, stay calm, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go.
Turn on Your Headlights
Many states require headlights when visibility is low or the windshield wipers are on. This will make it easier for you to see and for other cars to see you.
It’s important to increase the amount of distance between you and the car in front of you so that you have plenty of time to slow down or brake if needed. You should also begin to slow down earlier to stop for intersections, turns and other traffic.
Respond to a Skid
If you feel your car begin to skid, try to stay calm and follow these basic steps. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go and avoid slamming on the brakes.
Avoid Flooded Roads
Never drive through standing or flowing water unless you can judge the depth of the water. Flooding your engine can cause it to stall, and you can get stuck or even swept away in the current.
Next time it rains, take your time and be patient, or better yet, stay in, have a warm cup of tea and wait until the rain passes. That sounds like a much better way to stay safe.