By Logan Quirk
Sooner or later, it will get wet again in California. Drought be damned. It’s going to rain. Follow these steps.
Preparing for the Rain
You know the rains are coming, so do some advance get preparation work. Make sure your wipers are working well, and your tires properly inflated. Replace worn blades or tires before they cause problems. Make sure you have an emergency kit – with flares or trouble lights, and a first-aid kit. Have the numbers you may need for roadside help and emergency contacts.
Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain
Southern Cali doesn’t get all that much rainfall, which may help explain why some local drivers seem not to have learned how to drive in it.
The physics of the situation are simple: cars don’t handle as well on wet roads, and drivers don’t see as well or as far. So the first rule: everything will take more time, and adjust for that. Allow extra time to travel during wet weather.
Braking will also take longer, so allow adequate distance between your vehicle and others. Begin braking earlier, and do it more gently. Turns need to be more gradual, too. Never use cruise control when there’s lots of water on the streets, since it could make things worse if you start to hydroplane. If you have anti-lock brakes, keep steady pressure on them if you start to skid, turning in the direction of the skid. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, pump but don’t slam them in case of a skid.
When possible, try to keep in the middle of the roadway, where there will usually be less water rather than towards the edge of the road. Pay heightened attention to pedestrians, who may be walking where they shouldn’t or looking at their umbrella, not traffic.
Realize that every driver’s vision and visibility is reduced in the rain, so use your lights, defoggers — and extra caution. If a thunderstorm knocks out electricity, be especially cautious in approaching and crossing intersections where traffic signals are out.
Avoiding/Dealing with Trouble Spots
If you see standing water, you may figure it’s probably shallow and be tempted to drive through it. Resist, and look for another way around it. If you try to cross through anyway and stall out, get to higher ground and call 911.
Walking in Wet Weather
Just because you’ve reached your destination and are out of the rain doesn’t mean you’re free of wet-weather dangers. You’ll want to wear footwear that not only keeps your feet dry, but also provides needed traction on wet, and possibly slippery, walking surfaces.
Some of those hazardous walking areas will be indoors, where dripping coats, soggy shoes and shaken umbrellas may have left a watery film atop your pathway. Especially in walkways and entrances to office buildings, stores and other highly-traveled areas, be extra careful of heightened slip-and-fall dangers.
Call me if you are the unfortunate victim of any injury related incident.