FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: SINGING IN THE RAIN, BUT DRIVING IN IT?

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By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

March 2, 2015 (San Diego)--It’s nice to finally write about rain! We have a few more storms in the forecast and we certainly need it. We all like singing in the rain but driving in it? It’s rather stressful even when it’s not raining says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Most people just don’t pay attention or exercise common sense much anymore. We have far too many distractions at our disposal. There are around 707,000 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 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.

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!

Drive Safely!