‘Slow down’: Much-needed rain creates problems for California drivers


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Rain may become a headache or even dangerous for many commuters traveling from the Bay Area to the Sacramento region. 

Thursday’s wet weather is a welcome sight for dry California, but for drivers, it’s unwanted trouble. Nearly 50% of weather-related car crashes happen during rainfall. 

When it comes to the number of crashes and speeding tickets each year, California comes in at number four for having the worst drivers in the country. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 73% of weather-related crashes happen on wet roads, with speeding and hydroplaning on oil-slicked roads being the number one culprit. 

“It was harder for me because I’m towing a trailer, so I got to worry about the guy cutting in front of me,” said avid road-tripper Jim Cranney. 

Cranney came prepared for Thursday’s rain. 

“I always have breaks checked and new tires put on,” Cranney told FOX40.

He said others on his morning commute down from Tahoe were not as prepared. 

“I was going to come down tomorrow, but it’s supposed to snow in the mountains. So, I came down today,” Cranney said. “And as soon as I got to Rocklin, it was just bumper to bumper and heavy rain, and there was two or three accidents on the westbound side.” 

There are some precautions drivers can take to be safe on the road: have your lights on during the day and make sure windshield wipers are in good condition. 

Tires should also be checked before driving on slick roads. One way to check the threading is with the penny trick. If you can see Lincoln’s head as it sits in the groove, that means the tire threads are worn out and shallow. 

As someone who has traveled up and down the Oregon coast, Cranney has some advice. 

“Slow down. That’s about the only thing you can do,” Cranney said. 

It’s also not advised to use cruise control on wet roads. Some other tips are to allow more room between vehicles and stay alert by checking the cars’ mirrors. 

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