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By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 8, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - "I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty stressful driving even when it’s not raining," says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Throw a mix of forecasted rain in this week and it makes it worse.

Did you know there are over 700,000 automobile crashes each year due to rain, resulting in approximately 3,300 deaths and 330,200 injuries?

Driving in the rain doesn’t have to be an added stressful experience. First and foremost:  think! “Many people drive subconsciously, out of habit,” says Fire Chief DiGiovanna. Make sure your habits are good ones. “When it rains, we often don’t adjust our thinking.”

Drivers need to stay alert and focused. Turn on those headlights. It’s the law in all states to turn headlights on when visibility is low and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use. Make sure your wipers are working well. Consider taking your car in to your mechanic and get the basics checked.

Good tires, brakes and distance are also must-haves when driving in rain. Beware of hydroplaning. That’s the technical term for what occurs when your tires are getting more traction on the layer of water on the road than on the road itself - the result is that your car begins to slide uncontrollably. If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator slowly and steer straight until you regain control.

Speed limit signs are designed for ideal conditions and that means driving when you have little traffic and good visibility. That’s hardly the environment you’re driving in when it’s raining, so let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.

Cell phone and texting? Don’t even think about it!

For those of you living in areas that suffered recent wildfires, visit:

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.