With our beautiful Southern California weather, we don’t have to drive through snow or contend with icy roads in December. Still, with winter knocking on the door, it’s a good time for a reminder about driving in that other four-letter word: rain.
It doesn’t happen that often in Southern California; nine out of every 10 days are dry, with measurable precipitation just 36 days a year. In an average year, Southern California will have a bit less than 15 inches of rain per year, according to Weather.com.
In fact, big storms are so few that Southern Californians have been known to panic behind the wheel, causing everything from fender benders to serious accidents with injuries. Follow these tips to help make it safely to your destination in inclement weather.
- Check your tires, especially if rain is in the forecast. Make sure they have good tread and are properly inflated. California law requires gas stations make air available for free for people who buy gas.
- Check your wiper blades. Summer heat can cause them to wear out. While you’re doing that, make sure all of your car lights are working. Taillights, headlights, brake lights and hazard lights will help other drivers see you. Remember that it’s a law in the state to turn on your headlights while your wiper blades are in use.
- Plan ahead and leave early. You also might want to download a traffic app that can show you if any of the roads are more congested than usual, perhaps because of an accident. You can use an alternate route that way.
- Take your time and drive below the speed limit if the roads are very wet and the rain is falling hard. Increase the stopping distance you leave between your car and the one in front of you, and don’t press hard on the brakes.
- Don’t panic if you skid. Steer the car in the same direction you want to travel and don’t slam on the brakes.
- Watch for pooled water on the roadway. You never want to try to maneuver through standing water.
- Never allow yourself to be distracted. Keep your cellphone and radio off.
Safety is the most important thing when you’re driving and taking these precautions is a great first step. We hope that all other drivers will do the same to avoid car accidents.