Sullivan: A survival guide for driving in the rain

Oct 20, 2022, 5:05 AM | Updated: Oct 21, 2022, 2:59 pm
Driving in the rain...
The first significant rain in months is expected to arrive over the weekend, which will cause plenty of issues on the roadways. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

We all like to joke about how badly we all drive in the rain, but it’s true. That first day of soaking rain turns most of our roads into carnage, and it’s coming Friday.

The Seattle area has had just over a half-inch of rain since late June. That’s four months of dirt, grime, and oil that is just sitting on top of the road, ready to create a skating rink under your tires.

“It’s the classic ‘oil and water don’t mix,'” meteorologist Ted Buehner said. “That water is just going to sit on top of the roadway. It just creates very slick conditions.”

Rain is coming; Sully’s wet weather driving 101

How you drive in these upcoming conditions will determine how you get through them.

“Slow down and maintain a very safe following distance,” Buehner said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of hydroplaning going on as we go through this weekend and into next week.”

I’m not sure if you have ever experienced hydroplaning. I have, and it’s terrifying, especially when you are going 60 miles an hour. You do not want to put yourself in that position when the rain comes.

Watch your speeds on the on and off ramps. You will not be able to stop as fast during the rain. The aggressive driving that we all have seen over the last few months is a recipe for disaster.

Get your mind right for driving in wet weather. You have about a day to make sure your car is ready for the conditions. Replacing your wiper blades is a great place to start.

“They have been sitting in the sun all summer long, if they haven’t cracked or seen some wear, they haven’t been used in a while,” Buehner said. “Check those tires to make sure you have enough tread.”

Rain on tap by weekend amid record-breaking dry weather, heat

Everyone can replace wipers somewhat cheaply. Getting new tires will likely take a little planning. Just be prepared for some spinning wheels on hills for the next few days, especially when accelerating away from green lights.

Standing water is always a concern during the first few storms. The freeway ruts might catch your tires a bit. You might run into some ponding where storm drains have become clogged. Buehner said this storm will have some wind too, which will bring down more leaves.

“People need to go out and clean those leaves from the storm drains,” Buehner said.

To recap: Rain is coming. The roads will be slick. Speeding and tailgating = rear-end accidents. And freeways can cause accordion-like accidents involving multiple cars.

If we don’t want to be stuck in endless gridlock during this first storm, we all need to change our behavior behind the wheel and make sure our cars are prepared.

@kirotraffic RAIN IS BACK! But it’s going to make the roads extra dangerous. Sully walks us through how we should change our driving habits to stay safe! #seattle #seattletiktok #seattlerain #bellevuewa #tacomawa #olympiawashington #everett #bellingham #piercecounty #kingcounty #snohomishcounty #drivinglessons #dadsoftiktok #dadadvice #kironewsradio #drivingtips #rain ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [2018 Remaster] – Kate Bush


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Sullivan: A survival guide for driving in the rain