San Diego doesn’t see rain that often, which makes it all the more dangerous when trekking out in this sort of weather.  While many will claim ‘San Diegans don’t know how to drive in the rain’ that is only partially true.  Practice does make perfect, so we have a disadvantage there, but what most don’t realize is that rain naturally cleans roads and freeways and that doesn’t happen often for us.  Throughout the year there are a lot of oils and fluids that leak from under-maintained cars that will sit on our roads and freeways until the rain finally comes.  Once we do get rain, this leads to extremely slippery conditions.  Here are a few things you can do both before and during your rainy trip to keep you and your passengers at the good end of the safety bell curve.

Before you Drive:

  1. Replace your wiper blades!  Check them throughout the year.  If they skip or streak, have them replaced.
  2. Check your tires and tire pressures.  If you see minimal tread or dry cracking of the rubber, they aren’t going to serve you well in the elements. Over-inflated tires will decrease grip, while under-inflated tires will not allow the tread pattern to properly direct water out of your path. Don’t forget the spare.
  3. Make sure your defrost/defog function works.  During a rain event your windshield is more likely to fog up and that’s not the time to realize your defrost/defog doesn’t work
  4. Check all of your headlights, tail lights and turn signals for proper operation.  A visable car is a safe car.
  5. Get a periodic alignment check, it will make all the difference in wet weather, especially if you hydroplane.

During your drive:

  1. Leave yourself plenty of time and space.  Leave early for work or appointments and while driving allow extra room between you and others to give more time to react if something should occur.
  2. Pump your brakes on occasion. After going through puddles, the water on your brake components will impede your stopping power.  Pumping them will create heat and burn off the excess water.
  3. Turn off your cruise control or other automated driving assists.  You need to be focused and in control at all times.
  4. If you hydroplane or skid, don’t hit the brakes or abruptly steer.  Follow the path of the car and allow it to re-gain stability as long as nothing is in front of you.
  5. Plan your route.  There are many areas that are prone to flooding, avoid them at all costs.

Here is a video from AAA that further explains safety in wet weather conditions:

Stay safe and stay dry during our rainy season!

Chris Keefer

Independent Motorcars

5836 Autoport Mall

San Diego CA 92121