Los Angeles has been hit again by a rainstorm – great for our usual dry region, but hard on our roads! And our neighborhoods of Pasadena, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Echo Park and Eagle Rock are especially congested on the streets during rains.
Across the board experts from National Safety Council, Edmunds and the Weather Channel suggest that the most important safety tip for driving in the rain is to slow down and be more cautious. If it helps, leave early so you can drop a few miles per hour on your speedometer and allow for extra distance between you and car ahead of you (and yes that means allow for lots of impulsive drivers to jump in front of you – but don’t worry studies show that chronic lane changers don’t get there faster and only gain 4 minutes out of an 80-minute drive!)
After that critical first step, here are some other tips we’ve gathered at Sean Paul Insurance Agency to make driving in a wet L.A. safer!
1. Check your wipers and tire pressure/condition regularly. Experts recommend changing wiper blades twice a year or every 6000 miles to avoid frayed or ripped blades. They also recommend checking tire pressure every month. The NHTSA has a great site for tire safety you can check out: click here.
2. Brake earlier and with less force to ensure those behind you know you are slowing and that you slow without hydroplaning.
3. Use your turn signals far enough in advance to warn those behind you to slow down.
4. Stay toward the middle of the road and avoid the large puddles overall (especially near those few L.A. pedestrians on the side of the road – watch out for and remember pedestrians).
5. Don’t use cruise control. You need to be in control of your car’s speed -for example, in the event of hydroplaning, it could cause you to accelerate. Plus your foot needs to be near the brakes at all times.
6. If your car starts to hydroplane, don’t brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down). Weather.com has a great full lesson on hydroplaning.
Stay safe: you won’t gain much time or distance by rushing and you have too much to lose if you do join the high statistics of rainy day car accidents!