Safe Driving Tips for El Niño Season

Safe Driving Tips for El Niño Season

An El Niño weather pattern has been predicted for California this winter—and if the heavy rains over the last few weeks are any indication, it looks like it is finally here. According to some reports, this could be one of the strongest El Niño seasons in U.S. history, with serious weather expected to be seen all the way through February.

While California’s drought has left the land dry and in dire need of rain, El Niño shouldn’t be taken lightly. The heavy rains, winds, and inclement weather will make roads much more dangerous for drivers. Most people will be on the road at some point during an El Niño rainstorm. In fact, an El Niño-fueled downpour flooded the Golden State (5) Freeway in Sun Valley with 4 feet of water on January 6, leaving many drivers trapped in floodwater or stuck in serious traffic.

Preparing for the Inclement Weather

You likely won’t be able to avoid driving during the rainstorms El Niño brings. If you find yourself on the road during adverse weather, we’ve provided some safe driving tips below.

Keep the following in mind this El Niño:

  • If you know an area is subject to flooding, avoid it.
  • Check your tires regularly and bring your car in for an inspection.
  • Keep your headlights on during rainy / low visibility conditions.
  • Don’t try to cross fast-flowing water—even if it seems shallow.
  • Increase your following distances and decrease your speed.
  • Stay away from downed power lines or wires while driving.
  • Always be on the lookout for standing water.
  • Avoid pools of water as they could cause your cause to skid out of control.
  • Don’t get out of your car into moving water.
  • Call 911 if you get stuck in fast flowing water for rescue.
  • Seek higher ground if you notice flooding on the road.
  • Keep the following items in your car for emergencies:
    • Tire chains
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • Flares
    • Small shovel
    • Windshield scraper
    • Blankets
    • Snacks and water
    • Backup charger for cell phone

If you are headed to higher elevation like Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, or similar areas, keep in mind that the heavy rains have turned to heavy snow in the mountains. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with tire chains and other safety equipment / emergency gear if necessary.

The California Highway Patrol has reported that car accidents increase by more than 203% during the rain. Don’t be another statistic! Stay safe this El Niño season.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.