Sacramento sees rain: reminders for drivers on slick roadways

Sacramento is seeing its first rainy day since March, according to the National Weather Service. And it’s enough of a drizzle that roadways are getting wet.

While NWS reports sunny skies are expected to return by this afternoon, don’t forget to take extra care when driving on slick surfaces this morning. Here are a few tips and tricks for driving in the rain you may have forgotten during these dry months.

Is your car ready?

Before you even leave, you should make sure your vehicle is good to go. You’ll need effective windshield wipers and head and tail lights. But you should also check your tires: if they’re balding, they will have less traction on wet roadways.

Take it slow

This is the rule we all know and rarely follow. But reducing speeds minimizes your chances of hydroplaning, which is when your car’s tires can’t displace water fast enough and your car slides on a thin layer of water instead of the road surface. According to the American Automobile Association, as little as 1/12 inch of water on a road means tires have to push away a gallon of water per second in order to keep in contact with the road. So, slow down.

If you do get into a hydroplaning situation, AAA advises drivers to keep looking and steering the direction you want the car to go — but avoid aggressive braking, as it will make the car harder to control.

Leave more following distance

When driving on wet roads, you need more time to brake. Slow down for stops at intersections or prior to turning earlier than you would on a dry day. This will help prevent you from rear ending the driver in front of you or otherwise skidding during too-sharp turns.

Don’t cruise

While cruise control is useful on dry roads, wet conditions are too finicky for the feature, according to AAA. Again, this is all to do with avoiding hydroplaning. You need to be ready to respond by reducing speeds if you feel your vehicle begins to skid, but you can’t do that as quickly in cruise control.

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Mila Jasper is an engagement reporter for The Sacramento Bee. A former Bee intern, Mila also previously reported on information technology for Nextgov. She is a graduate of Northwestern University.

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