A storm descending on Southern California was forecast to drop up to 3 inches of rain from Thursday night into Friday morning.
Fears that it will bring a repeat of January's devastating mudslides have prompted mandatory evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County. But even if you're not in one of these danger zones, there are other hazards to plan for.
Most commuters here know the perils of precipitation, which can turn everyday gridlock into a slippery game of bumper cars. Yet every time it rains, we get the same choreography of collisions.
"Everybody thinks they're a great driver," stunt driver Greg Tracy told "Take Two" in January. "With the years of teaching racing schools and car clinics and just being on the road, maybe it's actually 1 in 100 that are OK."
To help you weather the storm, we've remixed some previous tips (and friendly reminders) for SoCal commuters.
From Tracy the stunt driver:
- Be extra cautious in the first 10 minutes, when oils make the roads extra slick
- Slow down and avoid slamming on the brakes (which could make you hydroplane) or hitting the accelerator extra hard
- Look farther ahead: To avoid accidents, look 20 to 30 seconds ahead
- Don't look at your phone
Here are some more tips from Jeffrey Spring of the Auto Club of Southern California:
- Check your vehicle's tires to make sure they're in good condition and inflated properly. Driving with moderate tread or bald tires can be a major factor in skidding.
- Make sure your windshield wiper blades are in good condition to ensure you have good visibility.
- Check your brakes by gently tapping them a few times when it's safe to do so, especially after you drive through a couple of puddles. Sometimes water can make the brakes a little slippery.
- Turn on your headlights! They'll increase visibility in the rain.
- Use your defroster to keep the windows clear, so you can see out of the front and side windows.
And here's what to do if you hydroplane (that's when when your tires lose all contact with the road and your car begins sliding on water alone):
- Do NOT hit the brakes. That could actually make you accelerate as the tires lose traction with the ground.
- DO turn your steering wheel. Take your foot off the accelerator and turn your steering wheel in the direction that your car is hydroplaning. This will allow your car to regain contact and traction with the pavement.
- Remain calm and slow down. Once your tires reconnect with the pavement, slow down to avoid hydroplaning again.