This week the Bay Area has been slammed by a series of storms that are sweeping across California. Here at the Brod Law Firm, we have been wondering how drivers and cyclists are coping out there in the rain and wind. On their own bicycling and driving are innately dangerous – if you combine those with a storm and roads full of traffic, you have a recipe for injury accidents. We have helped many clients who have been injured while driving in hazardous conditions, and we have simple advice for both cars drivers and cyclist when it is raining: Keep your speed down, keep your distance, and drive defensively. At the same time, however, since cars are bigger and faster than bicycles and can turn into deadly weapens during wet weather, we do have more specific tips for drivers on how to drive in the rain.
On rainy days, you should remember that even a light layer of moisture on the roadway can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. And if you find yourself hydroplaning don’t stomp of the brakes. This could send you into a spin. It is better to ease off the brakes and into a spin. If you drive through a puddle, or a series of puddles, you should gently tap your brake pedal. It is probably a good idea to tap the brakes several times until they respond safely and adequately. Tapping the breaks helps squeeze out any accumulated water that has built up in your braking system .
It is also important for you to slow your vehicle to match the speed of the majority of other vehicles on the roadway and drive on the outside lane, if possible. If it hasn’t rained for a while, you should be extra careful. A lot of oils are excreted on to and into the road surface from trucks, cars, vans and motorcycles. This oil builds up and becomes very greasy and slick when it rains. You should also make sure no one is driving too fast from behind; if you see someone much faster than you, lightly tap your brakes a few times as a signal that you are going slower. But remember, if you are going a lot slower than the majority of the traffic, you may be rear-ended by a careless or distraced driver.
You should always plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of time to get to your destination. Keep in mind road conditions and choose alternative routes so you don’t need to rush around in the rain. If the rain is coming down hard while you are driving, and the road is not visible to you, you might need to pull over until the weather lightens up– be sure you pull far enough off the road so others who continue to drive will not hit you. Leave your flashers on and every few minutes tap your brakes so others will see your taillights. And never forget: that even if you doeverything right, not everyone drives safely or pays attention.