Tips For Driving In the Rain

We do not get much rain in Los Angeles, so when it does rain, Southern California drivers need to adjust driving habits and be more cautious.

Here are some suggestions:

• SLOW DOWN! The roads can be slippery and slick, especially if there are oil deposits on the surface. It takes longer to stop your vehicle, especially on the freeways and highways where your speed tends to be greater.

• Stay alert. Watch for brake lights. Watch for pedestrians. Adjust your speed for limited visibility.

• Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. When it rains you need to put more space between your vehicle and the vehicle that you are following. It takes longer to stop in the rain and also the spray from the tires of the vehicle ahead of you and to the side of you can impede your vision and driving ability. This is particularly the case when it comes to larger vehicles, trucks and busses.

• Try to drive in the middle lanes. Water tends to puddle and pool in the outside lanes and edges of the road.

• Avoid using your brakes if possible, but lightly tap your brakes when driving through puddles to assist in keeping your brakes dry.

• Avoid driving through moving currents of water where the ground is not visible and the depth of the water is unknown. If there is a vehicle ahead, you may want to follow its tracks, unless of course it suddenly begins to submerge. Be aware of flood areas. You don’t want to damage your vehicle’s electrical system or worse be swept away!

• Try to stay on paved surfaces. You don’t want to get stuck in the mud or snow.

• Use your fog lights or headlights to help others see you. However, be aware and take into consideration that use of your lights sometimes affects the depth perception of others in determining their distance from you.

• Avoid hydroplaning. Hydroplaning arises when the water in front of the tires builds up to a point where the vehicle’s weight cannot adequately push the water out of the way. Pressure builds causing the vehicle to rise up enough that a thin layer of water forms between the road and the vehicle’s tires causing the tires to lose contact with the road surface. This can result in the vehicle losing control, skidding, or drifting. If your vehicle begins to hydroplane, do not suddenly brake or attempt to turn the steering wheel. Ease your foot off the accelerator, allowing your car to slow and regain traction. You may need to turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid or drift. As you regain control, gently straighten your wheels.

• Avoid skidding by not hitting your brakes too hard. When you need to stop, apply even soft or mild pressure. Driving slower and keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead will afford you this option. If you begin to skid, the tendency is to turn the steering wheel the opposite way. Don’t! This will cause your vehicle to skid even more. Turn your steering wheel slightly into the skid. This will straighten out your car and assist in regaining tire traction. If your vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes, press down on your brakes as you turn into the skid.

• Windows tend to fog up in the rain. Run your defroster or heat through your air conditioning directing the heat through the vehicle’s defroster. Sometimes, opening the side windows assists in clearing the foggy windows.

An Ounce of Prevention:

• Before it starts to rain, check your tires. Make sure the treads are in good shape. Check your brakes and brake fluid. Make sure to replace old or worn windshield wipers.

• If possible, try to avoid driving during heavy rain and thunderstorms. Should you have an accident resulting in an injury and you believe that the other party caused the collision, get all the necessary contact and insurance information from the other party, take photographs of the vehicles involved in the crash, take photos of the accident scene, call the police and insist that they make a traffic collision report, promptly seek medical assistance, and contact an experienced attorney such as the Law Office of Frederick S. Schwartz, to receive a free evaluation of your claim.

Be careful driving out there!