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How to Drive Safe on Slick Roadways?

We’re kicking off the new Watch the Road blog series with a timely article on how to navigate slick roadways. Please check back with us every Tuesday for the next couple of months or so to get detailed information every driver should know, including essential safety tips, about all the various road hazards.

Just this morning, a record-breaking storm slammed Southern California, sending rainfall gushing down many major roadways and making the commute treacherous for countless motorists. Several spinouts and fender benders were reported in Los Angeles County as well as in San Diego and Orange counties. On Westbound Interstate 210 in Pasadena, an 18-wheeler overturned, blocking all lanes.

This storm may have passed, but it certainly won’t be the last. Climatologists anticipate a powerful El Niño this winter, which means there’s a good chance of heavy precipitation in the months to come. Now is a good time as any for motorists to go over tips and techniques for driving in the rain. Even if you are an experienced driver, you will surely benefit from a brief review of the following information:

Exercise extreme caution after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When water from a new rainfall mixes with these slick substances, driving conditions can become extremely slippery, especially in the first few hours. This is precisely what happened earlier this morning.

Expect a longer drive. In wet conditions, traffic may slow down. Roads may even get flooded or jammed. Whatever the case, do not rush. It’s not worth risking your life to save time.

Do not use cruise control. You want to maintain high vigilance and full control of your vehicle in case of an emergency. Also, if you hydroplane, there’s a chance your car could actually accelerate.

Go easy and early on the brakes. In other words, allow more space than usual to come to a stop. Slamming your brakes late may only cause you to skid and crash.

Avoid deep puddles, especially if you can’t gauge their depth. One of the worst things you can do to your car is to have water splash into the car’s engine compartment and damage vital electrical systems. Also, there may be a large pothole hiding under the water, waiting to damage a wheel or wreck your suspension.

Turn on your headlights. Not only will this increase visibility of the road, but it will also help other motorists see you. However, don’t use your high beams – the water droplets in the air will reflect the light back at you, obscuring your vision further.

Don’t panic if you hydroplane. If you slam on the brakes or jerk the wheel, you might spin into a skid. Instead, release the gas pedal slowly and steadily and steer straight until your wheels regain traction. If you must use your brakes, tap them (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).

This information has been brought to you by the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm. Please contact us for legal assistance if you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident. Even if the crash occurred in wet conditions, you may still qualify for compensation. Call us today at (800) 522-7274 for a FREE consultation.