Inclement Weather Driver Safety Tips

The National Weather Service is forecasting significant winter storms this season that are expected to bring rain, thunderstorms, high surf, wind and associated hazards to the Bay Area.

When heavy rainfall is expected throughout the Bay Area, the volume of rainfall can overwhelm waterways and roadway drainage systems, leading to flash flooding. 

As you drive during these storms that may include wind gusts of up to 60 m.p.h., the California Highway Patrol (CHP) asks that motorists take the following notes into consideration:
• Freeways will often flood nearest to the roadway edges, especially on elevated roadways with walls on both sides. Avoid the outside lanes, especially at night.
• Never drive through standing water. It may be hard to tell how deep the water is, and what may be lurking beneath the surface.
• The primary method of avoiding collisions during severe weather is to slow down. Slower speeds prevent hydroplaning, which often leads to crashes. Extra following distance will also help if someone crashes ahead.
• Whenever windshield wipers are on, headlights must be on as well. Often, vehicles are not visible without head and taillights.
• Prepare vehicles now. Replace windshield wipers if necessary, check brakes and fluids. The worst time to break down is during heavy weather. Towing services are usually overwhelmed with collisions, and response times are delayed.

When experiencing an emergency on the freeway, call 911 from a mobile phone. CHP response times are often delayed due to the high volume of calls. In a minor collision, move out of the roadway as soon as possible to prevent secondary collisions and to keep Bay Area roadways moving.