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Practicing safe driving in wet weather and ahead of the holiday

The combination of wet weather and an increased number of people on the roads for the holidays could lead to disaster, but not if you're practicing safe driving techniques.

American Automobile Association (AAA) said there is an increased amount of people traveling this holiday season. That includes popular destinations which involve getting to right through our freeway corridor.

To avoid any crashes AAA is advising people to take the necessary precautions:

  • Slow down.  Motorists should drive slowly, particularly through puddles that are expected with this weather system. Driving at slower speeds also helps drivers be prepared for sudden stops due to debris and other wet-weather driving hazards.
  • Keep your distance/Avoid skids.  A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet pavement, so allow extra following distance between cars. Sudden braking often leads to skids.  Extra distance provides a buffer zone in case of skids.  If the car skids and control is lost, do not slam on the brakes. Instead apply the brakes with a steady, light pressure. Remember to steer in the direction the car is sliding. When traction is regained, steering control will return. For cars equipped with anti-lock brakes, drivers should apply heavy steady pressure, but not pump the brakes.
  • Use center lanes.  When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where water collects at curbside.
  • Avoid distractions.  Motorists are advised to avoid eating, drinking, cellular phone use, texting, fumbling with items or applying makeup while driving, particularly in rain. If it's necessary to engage in these activities, pull over and stop in a safe place.
  • Stay informed.  Tune into radio and television weather reports or use weather apps to know where traffic congestion or crashes might be located. If possible, avoid these areas.
  • Watch for potholes.  Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Alert drivers have plenty of time to avoid potholes.  Before swerving around a pothole, be sure to check surrounding traffic to determine if it’s safe to change lanes.
  • Maintain a safe speed.  If a pothole cannot be avoided, slow down, if possible. Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts, springs or suspension components.  High speed also increases the chance of losing control of the vehicle, especially if a series of potholes occurs on a curved or uneven roadway.  When driving over more than one pothole, reduce vehicle speed and hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.
  • Don’t brake directly over a pothole.  Applying brakes at this moment causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the vehicle and can increase damage from the impact.
  • Beware of pooled water on the road.  It may be concealing a deep pothole.  “Hitting even one severe pothole could alter the alignment of a wheel from suspension damage resulting in uneven tire wear.  Uneven and premature tire wear means the tire will need to be replaced sooner than necessary and increase fuel consumption at needless expense,” said Lorz Villagrana. 
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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a new reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.

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