One of the joys of living in and around Los Angeles is our weather. Overall, we are fortunate to enjoy mostly dry, warm weather with only rare occurrences of storms. However, between the months of November to April, the likelihood of rain increases. The rain is occasionally heavy or freezes into dangerous patches. Because we aren’t used to such conditions driving can become extra hazardous during the winter months. For that reason, we would like to share some tips for driving safely in these often challenging and unfamiliar conditions.
Three tips for driving in rainy weather
Confirm your vehicle is working properly before leaving home. Before you pull out of your parking spot, take a couple of minutes to make sure everything you need for driving safely works. That includes your headlights and brake lights, tires, and of course windshield wipers. If anything isn’t functioning—a light is out, your tire tread is balding, or your wipers are frayed—delay your trip until after the rain stops and then head straight for your local gas station or repair shop for service. If you can’t wait to go out and have no other recourse like calling a rideshare service, you should drive very carefully and still make a stop for repairs your first errand.
Wipers on, headlights on. California law requires drivers to turn on their headlights when using windshield wipers and driving in rain, snow, fog, dust, or have 1,000 feet or less of visibility. The reason is simple—if your lights are on, you’re more clearly visible in adverse weather conditions, which increases your safety and that of other drivers. Also remember to use your windshield wipers even if the rain is light. Since most cars have different wiper speed settings, leaving them set to the “auto” option so they go on and self-adjust to the amount of rain striking your windshield is your best bet.
Take it slow and stay back. This is especially important when the rain is heavy, accompanied by driving winds, or the roadways are subject to freezing. Slow down to at least the posted speed limit, if not slower based on your personal sense of control over your vehicle. This can save you from hydroplaning, or losing traction while driving, which could send you spinning or skidding into an obstacle or other vehicles.
For this reason, it’s also imperative to maintain a thicker cushion of space between yourself and other motorists than you normally would in clear weather—we suggest three car lengths at minimum. Assume it will be more difficult to slow down or stop when in soggy conditions, so the worse the rain, the more space you should leave. Heavy, sudden braking on wet roads is dangerous, and will also increase your risk of losing control. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator earlier than you would in dry weather to gradually slow down before gently applying your brakes. Removing your foot from the gas pedal rather than slamming on the brakes can also save you if you start to hydroplane.
Is it time to call a Los Angeles automobile accident lawyer?
Not every driver slows down and takes the precautions necessary to drive safely in rain or other adverse weather conditions. When someone is careless and you pay the price, you deserve fair compensation. Please contact Los Angeles car accident attorney Scott J. Corwin at (310) 683-2300.