How To Drive During El Nino

Driving in the rain, tips for driving on slick roadsWith El Nino season ominously on the horizon, many of us living in Southern California need to start mentally preparing for driving on slick roads during heavy rainfall.

Because there are always so many drivers on the highways in California daily, approximately 5.5 million in Los Angeles County alone, the chances of getting into an accident triples after or during a bout of rain.

Due to the recent stretch of a long drought in California, many roads are covered in a thick layer of dried oil that will start running all over the streets once the rain starts. Driving on slick oil is highly dangerous and can cause your car to spin out of control on your commute.

Time For A Check-Up

Checking your tires now before the rain starts is a great preventative method. Bald tires will only increase your chances of skidding out on the roadway, so do a quick inspection to ensure the traction on your tires isn’t fading.

Your brakes are the most important safety feature on your vehicle, but sometimes we neglect them because they “feel fine”. But do you notice that sometimes your brakes vibrate or make an odd noise? Let an experienced mechanic do a brake check to make sure your brakes truly are fine as a precaution.

Back To Basics: Driving 101

While you are driving during rain, leave extra distance between you and the car in front of you (think a couple car lengths of extra space). If it is early in the morning and still a bit dark outside you can turn on your dipped headlights so other cars can see you more easily.

If you have to drive through a flooded section, slow down and drive on the highest section of the road. If your engine cuts out after driving through deep water, it is advised that you do not try to restart your car because there could be unseen damage.

Staying In Control

If you end up skidding out, do not brake and turn your wheel in the opposite direction! This can make the skid much worse. A skid occurs when there isn’t enough friction between the tire and the road, which happens on slick roads.

There are two types of skids, a front wheel and rear wheel skid. A front wheel skid tends to happen when we enter a turn to quickly on wet roads, causing our car to start drifting in a direction that we did not intend to go. If you start front wheel skidding, gently turn your wheel back on course and ease off the accelerator. If you are still skidding, gently pump the brakes.

During a rear wheel skid, it will feel as though your car is “fishtailing”, or the back end of your vehicle is swerving from left to right uncontrollably. You want to turn your wheel in the same direction you are fishtailing, but not too fast. Although jerking your wheel may be your first impulse, it will in fact increase your chances of not only spinning out but also flipping your car.

You want to GENTLY turn your wheel just enough to straighten your vehicle out.

For more safety tips give me a call at 949-496-7000.