Top Tips for Staying Safe in Rainstorms

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Some simple steps can make a big difference in terms of staying safe when heavy rain arrives to Northern California this week.
Last year’s windshield wipers may still seem adequate.  But when the rain falls heavily, fresh blades are worth every penny you’ll pay for them.
“Most people are quite surprised when they put fresh windshield wipers on, how much better they can see,” said Craig Heiser, owner of University Automotive in Sacramento.  “They think it’s the rain hitting the windshield that’s the problem.  And a lot of times, it’s not so much that.  It’s the bad windshield wipers aren’t doing their job, which makes it feel like it’s raining much harder than it is.”
Tires with proper tread made a huge difference.  People often wait until the tread reaches a depth of 2/32″ before they buy new tires.  But tread of that depth should not necessarily be considered safe when there is a lot of water on the road surface.  The grooves in a tire are designed to displace water.  “When they’re half the size, they can only disperse half the water,” Heiser explained.
Here’s a good tread test:  If you place a penny headfirst into the tread, and the top of Lincoln’s head is totally visible, it’s definitely time for new tires.
Heiser also advises people to make sure their car’s battery is in good shape to avoid getting stranded in a rainstorm with a car that won’t start.
This week’s rain will be accompanied by strong winds, capable of toppling some trees when the ground is saturated.  So it’s a good idea to pick a parking space accordingly, steering clear of large trees and branches.
As far as staying safe at home, your local hardware store has what you need. 
“People are buying all kinds of tarps and Henry’s caulking, flashlights and batteries getting ready for this storm,” said David Cunha of Yankee Hardware in Sacramento.
It’s safe to say that power outages are a guarantee during the next several days.  Cunha advises stocking up on flashlights and batteries while there are still plenty on the shelves.
“Yeah, we’re stocked up right now ready to go.  Rock and roll.”

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