The CHP logged 110 car crashes along LA freeways on Monday’s rainy commute. For perspective, compare that to only 7 logged last Monday when weather conditions were fine.

It’s not a myth that rainy weather increases the number of accidents on the road, and it’s easy to understand why: decreased visibility, slick roads, and heavy winds make safe driving a much harder task.

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So how can you stay safe on your rainy commute?

Change your driving habits to adapt to the weather. No matter how great of a driver you are, rainy weather means that we all need to slow down and put a little extra focus into driving. Here are some tips to help you adapt for the rainy season:

Before you go out on the road:

  • Make sure that your tires have plenty of tread. You should be getting your tires rotated every 6 months (or every 7,500 miles).
  • Test out your windshield wipers, because it may be time to replace them.

Before you leave home:

  • Turn on your headlights, even if it’s still light outside and you can see clearly. Remember that your headlights can also help other drivers see you.
  • Make sure you know where you’re going. If you think you’ll need your GPS to get to your destination, set it up before you drive. Driving in the rain is dangerous enough without any added distractions.

On the road:

  • Slow down! Wet roads and speeding do not mix. Leave extra time to get to your destination so that you can drive as slow as you need to to stay safe. With that extra time you’ll be less tempted to weave around slow cars and slam down on the accelerator.
  • Leave extra following distance between you and the car in front of you. It takes longer for your car to slow down on wet roads. Plus, braking too quickly can result in your car hydroplaning.
  • To avoid hydroplaning, the American Safety Council advises drivers to avoid slamming on their brakes and making sharp turns when roads are slick. Instead, try to leave enough following distance so that you can ease off of the accelerator before using the brakes to slow down gradually. Make sure that you break before turning or even following a curve in the road.
  • Avoid puddles and standing water. You can do this by staying in the middle lane of the road you’re in, as puddles tend to accumulate toward the edges of roads. If you can’t tell how deep a puddle is, don’t drive through it. Deep standing water can cause serious damage to your car’s electrical system.
  • Never drive through moving water that you can’t see the ground through. Deep moving water could sweep your car off the road.
  • Keep an eye out for debris in the road. Heavy winds can sweep branches off of trees and into the road.
  • Be extra aware of what the other cars around you are doing. Keep an eye out for brake lights and turn signals ahead, and if someone is speeding, keep your distance.
  • If possible, avoid driving during heavy thunderstorms. Bright flashes of lightning can be distracting to you and other drivers.

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Keep all these tips in mind as the rainy season continues. We hope you all stay safe on the road!

Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.

References:

California Highway Patrol. Rain, Fog, & Snow. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from https://www.chp.ca.gov/Documents/weatherDrivingTips.pdf

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires (2016). Retrieved January 9, 2017, from https://www.cars.com/articles/2013/05/how-often-should-you-rotate-your-tires/

Hydroplaning Basics. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://www.safemotorist.com/articles/hydroplaning_basics.aspx

Paige Austin. Storm Drives 1,571 Percent Spike in LA Freeway Crashes (2017). Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://patch.com/california/agourahills/s/fzv3c/storm-drives-1-571-percent-spike-in-la-freeway-crashes?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=police%20%26%20fire&utm_campaign=alert

Tips for Driving in the Rain. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://www.smartmotorist.com/driving-guideline/tips-for-driving-in-rain.html.