San Diego weather – How to drive safely in the rain

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January, usually the coldest month of the year in San Diego, also seems to be the wettest—especially after looking at this week’s forecast.

Weather Forecast: We can expect rain and wind all week until Friday. Heavy showers are expected Wednesday night and all day Thursday and Friday. Thunderstorms and hail could also be added to the mix.

We are in the rainy season, which brings the most unpredictable San Diego weather of the year. But no matter how unpredictable, you can always be prepared. The weather outside is treacherous, as shown in the video below. Stay safe by reading our best tips for driving safely in the rain.

Of course you want to wear long sleeves and sweaters in layers and have a rain jacket with a hood handy. It’s also a good idea to have waterproof boots and an umbrella with you.

But what about when you and your family are on the road? Rain is blamed for thousands of accidents yearly. When Mother Nature gives us rain, it’s easy for tires to lose traction and visibility to be compromised.

While most people know to slow down in the rain, here are some other important tips that you should remember:

  • Photo from 'Thairms' via Flickr

    Photo from 'Thairms' via Flickr

    Dry the bottom of your shoes before you start driving. Your shoes will be wet from outside and liable to slip off the pedals.

  • Check your tires before going out. In fact, check your tires on a regular basis. Bald tires reduce traction on wet roadways and offer little resistance to hydroplaning. Also, replace old or brittle wipers!
  • Turn on your headlights. This will help you see the road and will make it easier for other drivers to see you. It is also a new California law – if your wipers are on, you must turn on your headlights. Be careful though; don’t use your high beams in the rain or fog, because the light will reflect back at you and blur your vision further.
  • Brake earlier and with less force than you normally would. This lets the driver behind you know that you’re slowing down. Also, take turns and curves with less speed and use your turn signals to warn other drivers.
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you, the path will be more clear.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely. The spray created by large tires reduces visibility.
  • Stay in the middle of the road to avoid puddles, as most roads are crowned in the middle, which makes water pool off to the sides.
  • Don’t use cruise control. You shouldn’t take your foot away from the pedals because your reaction time is important, especially when driving in bad conditions. Also, if you hydroplane, your car could accelerate.
  • Avoid large puddles. Water splashing up into your car’s engine could cause damage, or a pothole may be hiding under the water. Take another route if you can.
  • After crossing a puddle, tap on your brake pedal lightly to dry off the water on the rotors.
  • Allow for more travel time since you will be driving at a slower pace. Also, it’s possible that your preplanned route may be flooded or jammed.
  • If it’s raining so hard that you can’t see the road or car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.
  • If you start to hydroplane, don’t brake suddenly or turn the wheel. Instead, release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal.
  • Turn on both front and rear defrosters. Rain will cause your windshield to fog up and you need to see!

Driving in the rain is a completely different monster from driving in clean conditions. Don’t risk yours and other drivers’ safety—follow these important driving tips!

Good luck staying dry this week, San Diego.

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