With all the fires raging in California, rain is a welcome sight. However, it is also a source of disaster. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning in the Orange County area, reports Patch.
Flooding creates dangerous road conditions many native Californians may not have experience with. The best course of action is to stay off the roads if possible, says the fire department, as vehicles are the location of the majority of flood fatalities.
Hazards of driving in the rain
Downpours can create currents in just a few inches of water strong enough to move your vehicle. Also, large puddles can look deceptively shallow until you find yourself stuck in one after trying to drive through.
Even without flooding, rain is still hazardous. It is harder to see signs, lane demarcations and other drivers, and for other motorists to see you. The roads become slick due to the combination of water and oil residue, making it easier for you to lose control of your vehicle.
Tips for safely driving in the rain
If you have to drive in inclement weather, follow these safety precautions:
- Go below the speed limit. (Leave early to prevent the urge to speed due to being late.)
- Allow for more time and space to brake.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Eliminate all distractions to keep your eyes and ears aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid heavily flooded areas, and never drive through a big puddle.
- Make sure your windshield wipers and lights work before you hit the road.
- Check the tread on your tires to ensure sufficient traction.
- Do not drive at night, if you can help it.
If you hydroplane, do not slam on your brakes. Instead, lightly press on the gas pedal, or take your foot completely off if you have rear-wheel drive and no ABS. Gently steer toward an open space. If you ever get nervous, pull into a safe place until the rain lightens up.