December 31, 2014 (San Diego)--The old song says, “It never rains in Southern California.”
But when we do get rain or snow, like this week’s storm has brought, driving can be an adventure.
To make sure it doesn’t become a mis-adventure, here are some handy driving tips from San Diego County’s Department of Public Works , or DPW, that will help make your rainy drive safer.
- SLOW DOWN to avoid getting into an accident. When it rains in San Diego County, the California Highway Patrol routinely responds to more accidents than when it’s dry. Remember, it takes longer to stop or adjust when roads are wet. Give yourself a little extra time for your travels.
- Turn on your headlights to comply with the law — and to see better and make it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Try to drive toward the middle lanes as water tends to gather in outside lanes.
- BEFORE it rains, check your windshield wipers and replace them as need so they actually keep the rain off your windshield and make sure you can see.
- Avoid driving through deep water and test your brakes if you pass through a water hazard to make sure they’ve dried out and are working properly.
- Give the cars in front of you extra distance. The spray from their vehicles — particularly from larger trucks and buses — can block your vision. And giving extra space to the guy in front of you also gives you more time to brake or adjust if you need to.
- If you start to hydroplane (to skid because your tires lose traction with the wet road), remember: keep calm, don’t panic. The Department of Motor Vehicles says don’t over-steer; don’t stomp on the brakes. Keep the steering wheel straight and take your foot off the accelerator so your vehicle can slow down slowly.
- In heavy rains, never cross a flooded roadway if you cannot see the pavement. Even a few inches of water running at the right velocity can sweep a car, and even a truck, and its occupants off the roadway and downstream.
- Defog your windows for better visibility. Rain can cause windows to fog up.
- Stay focused. Remember, it’s illegal, and dangerous, to try to text or use a hand-held cell phone when you’re driving!
If you have to travel to where you’ll have to drive in snow, keep up with the weather reports to see if tire chains are required. Be aware conditions on the ground can change rapidly. Also keep some extra safety equipment in your car. Watch out for DPW crews and equipment; don’t stop and park in the roadway.