Southern California is known for its remarkable weather but it's not always bright and sunny. From late October through March, Southern California experiences its annual rainy season. That's when roads become slippery from vehicle engine oil, other fluid discharges, and of course, rainfall over the freeways and roads. This results in very dangerous conditions. Averaging a 10-year period of statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered 46 percent of all weather-related collisions occur in the rain. But, only 17 percent are attributed to snow and sleet.
Roads Get Slippery when it Rains in Southern California
"Slippery Southland Road Causing Major Wrecks, Dangerous Driving Conditions," an ABC 7 News headline read. Early in the morning of October 17th, motorists attempted to drive across slippery roads, resulting in 142 accidents between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., the California Highway Patrol reports. This is just one example of how hazardous driving conditions become, not only during the rainy season, but anytime Southern California experiences rainfall.
Every year, after Southern California gets its first rain of the season, East Coast transplants and other non-natives living in the sunny Southland issue that same old complaint: "Los Angeles drivers don't know how to drive in the rain!" --Los Angeles Times
Motorists already face a number of challenges on the road. Distracted drivers, impaired drivers, aggressive drivers, traffic congestion, and more cause dangers to lurk everywhere. Rain only complicates an alreadt precarious situation. Unfortunately, this causes the number of auto collisions to increase significantly. Drivers must exercise caution, practice good defensive driving, and stay alert of what's around them at all times. When it does rain, it's best to refrain from driving altogether. But when it's not avoidable, drivers can take steps to help ensure their safety on the roads when it rains. By doing the following, motorists will reduce their risks of being involved in an accident:
- Be a proactive driver. Change your wiper blades every six to twelve months, replenish the wash fluid, check your headlights, tail lights, directional lights, and tires. Replace any non-working lights and tread worn tires. The average tire lifespan is just three to four years for motorists who drive 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. Be sure to replace all four tires when necessary. This will eliminate mismatching, which can affect the drivetrain, alignment, and overall ride performance.
- Don't use cruise control. When it's raining, it's best to refrain from using your car's cruise control feature. Because most cruise control features work by tapping the brake to disengage, this is a bad maneuver on wet roads. Tapping the break increases the risk of hydroplaning. Also, when cruise control is on, you cannot incrementally reduce your speed by gently letting off the accelerator.
- Slow down when it's raining. It's well-known drivers should operate their vehicles at a lower speed in rainy conditions. However, it's equally important not to slow down too much. Being overly cautious causes other problems. For instance, it encourages other drivers to attempt hasty lane-changes and drive more aggressively. Do slow down when it's raining, but don't overdo it.
- Be sure to use all of your lights. Under California law, it is mandatory to turn on your headlights if you need to use windshield wipers. In fact, the California Department of Transportation uses electronic signs to broadcast the message, "Wipers On! Headlights On!" Not only should you use your windshield wipers and headlights, you should always use your directional signal, when appropriate.
- Give other vehicles space. Another way to stay safe on the road when it rains is to give other drivers plenty of space. Tailgating is always dangerous, but following too closely under rainy conditions substantially increases your risk of being in a roadway collision.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an auto accident, contact Vititoe Law Group to speak with experienced car accident attorneys and staff about your claim. It's important to know that the law limits the time you have to make a claim, so it's important to act quickly.