When the rain comes, auto accidents are pictures of devastation.
A series of storms last week brought rain, ice, sleet and snow to our state. In addition, the California Highway Patrol and paramedics were on high alert for triple the amount of crash calls during storms. On one day there were almost 500 motor vehicle accidents throughout Southern California and sadly, many had serious injuries.
One reason our accident rates are so high here in Orange & Los Angeles counties is due to the fact that we don’t get rain all year around like many other areas. Traditionally, our rainy season is at its heaviest January through March, but most other times of the year we get little to no rain. This leads to complacency and when the weather does arrive, drivers don’t change their driving habits. Some accidents can cause serious injury or even death.
Rain soaked streets can be slippery with the first rain comes due to oil and dirt build up during the dry months. Two of the most common dangers in rainy weather are skidding and hydroplaning. Prevention of these problems can be solved by slowing down, checking your tire tread and remember to leave appropriate distance between you and the other car.
Skidding and hydroplaning in the rain are what causes many accidents in the southland. You can prevent skids by driving slower, especially when you are on a curve. When you prepare to brake, don’t break hard which may cause your wheels to lock; maintain mild pressure on the pedal. However if you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas and carefully steer in the direction you want to go.
To avoid hydroplaning circumstances, keep your tires properly inflated, maintain good treads and slow down on roads that show water is present on the surface.
Try to drive in the tracks left by the car in front of you.
Before leaving on a trip, always consult the California Department of Transportation’s website, www.dot.ca.gov/ for current highway conditions. Nothing ruins a trip like a road closure, bad weather or closed roads.
Here are a series of tips for driving on icy/snowy roads:
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop
- Brake gently to avoid skidding
- Turn your lights on so oncoming traffic can see you
- Keep your lights and windshield clean
- Never use cruise control in hazardous weather conditions
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and less travelled roads, they are more likely to freeze first and at temperatures above freezing.
- Carry chains travelling through mountainous regions in the winter
- Pack some extra blankets, water, food, shovel and flashlight. It’s always a good idea to be prepared.
- Keep your cell phone charged in case you need to make an emergency call.
- Keep your tank full in case you have to turn back or have lots of detours
- For current road conditions, you call Caltrans at 800-427-7623 for real time updates.
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