Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Tips to drive safely, avoid flooding in rainy conditions

Yvette Urrea Moe

County of San Diego Communications Office

The San Diego County's Department of Public Works road division and the Office of Emergency Services remind residents to drive safely and be flood ready.

The National Weather Service is forecasting milder rain conditions in San Diego than the central and northern part of the state, but safety precautions always apply on wet roads.

The following 10 tips are important when driving in rainy conditions:

1. Slow down to avoid getting into an accident. Remember, it takes longer to stop when roads are wet. Allow yourself at least an extra 15 minutes or so to arrive at your destination to adjust for slower traffic.

2. Turn on your headlights to see better and make it easier for other drivers to see you. It's the law.

3. Try to drive toward the middle lanes as water tends to gather in outside lanes.

4. Defog your windows for better visibility. Rain can cause windows to fog up. Along the same lines, check your windshield wipers preferably before it rains again and replace them as needed.

5. Avoid driving through deep water because it can affect your brakes. If you cannot avoid it, test your brakes afterward to make sure they've dried out and are working properly.

6. Give the cars in front of you extra distance. The spray from their vehicles – particularly from larger trucks and buses – can hamper your vision. And giving extra space to the guy in front of you also gives you more time to brake or adjust if you need to.

7. Keep calm, don't oversteer or stomp on the breaks if you start to hydroplane or skid when your tires lose traction on the wet road. The Department of Motor Vehicles says keep the steering wheel straight and take your foot off the accelerator so your vehicle can slow down slowly.

8. Turn around, don't drown. In heavy rains, never drive through a flooded roadway if you cannot see the pavement. Even a few inches of water running at the right velocity can sweep a car, and even a truck, and its occupants off the roadway and downstream. The same tip applies to trying to walk or swim across a flooded roadway.

9. Stay focused. Remember, it's illegal, and dangerous, to try to text or use a hand-held cell phone when you're driving.

10. Slow down for the cone zone if you see highway or road workers ahead or to your side. Watch out for DPW crews and equipment.

Bonus tip, if you have to travel to where you'll have to drive in snow, keep up with the weather reports to see if tire chains are required. Be aware conditions on the ground can change rapidly. Also keep some extra safety equipment in your car.

Chain controls, road condition updates, and other safety advisories are posted on DPW's Facebook and Twitter sites.

Off the roads, while this storm system is not expected to be excessive, residents may want to prepare and learn more about flood risks since floods are the most common natural disaster. The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services has flood ready information to lessen your risk, https://www.readysandiego.org/flooding/.

DPW's road division crews keep roads and motorists safe by removing road hazards, closing flooded roadways and plowing roads when bad weather strikes.

The Office of Emergency Services helps residents prepare for disasters and emergencies by encouraging people to create a personal disaster plan, register for emergency updates and download the free SDEmergency app, https://www.readysandiego.org/content/oesready/en-us.html.

 

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