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It's one of those years again, when the El Nino weather system begins dumping buckets of rain on our nation's roadways and drivers begin to "lose all common sense." We've all driven in rainy conditions before, but multiple inches of rain in a single day conditions? That's something else.
With parts of the country gearing up for historic rainfalls in the next few months, here's how to stay safe on the streets:
Mean Mother Nature
The most obvious risks from heavy rainstorms are visibility and traction on the road. Make sure your wiper blades are effective and the tread on your tires is adequate. (You can go with the tried and true "Penny Method" by placing a penny in between your tire treads -- if part of Lincoln's head isn't covered by the tread, your tires are too worn and need to be replaced.)
And along with all that water comes other driving dangers: mudslides and floods. If you live in a hilly area or one that has seen recent wildfires, be aware of the possibility of mudslides. Avoid flooded areas and heed all flash flood warnings. And be on the lookout for sinkholes, downed trees, and other dangerous road conditions.
Be Careful Behind the Wheel
If you must drive during a powerful rain storm, make sure to drive slowly. Most accidents and road closures during storms are due to driving at unsafe speeds. It may also help to have an extra map handy. If roads are closed and you're having reception problems for your smartphone, an analog map might save the day.
And drivers should always be prepared for stormy conditions. Having an emergency kit in the car is generally a good idea. Make sure it has first aid supplies, any medications or eyewear you may need, flashlights, and enough bottled water to last a day or two, in case you get stranded.
El Nino storms may make the roads more dangerous, but you can help by being prepared and driving more safely. If you've been injured in a car accident, you may want to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.