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How to Stay Safe During El Nino

Cars driving in the rain

El Nino has arrived. Traffic conditions are unfortunately heavier. The LA River is generously flowing. And then there's that video of a train of trash cans being carried down the street in a flood of water.

We Southern Californians aren't used to the rain. I mean, this is pretty much how we deal with it when it comes. So in case you don't know what to do to stay safe, I've compiled a list of tips to help you navigate through this stormy weather.

  1. Make sure your windshield wipers, headlights and turn signals are working properly. Also, if your wipers are on, turn your headlights on too. It's the law.
  2. Take your time, slow down and leave more room. The maximum posted speed limit may not apply under wet or icy road conditions. And keep in mind that your vehicle needs at least three times more distance to stop on slick roads.
  3. Be prepared in case of an emergency on the road. Travel with tire chains and tighteners, a flashlight and batteries, flares, a small shovel, a first-aid kit, a windshield scraper, extra clothes that are both warm and waterproof, blankets, snacks and drinking water. Above all, bring a backup power source for your cellphone.
  4. Power up on sleep and avoid driving if you're overly tired. Driving while tired is always dangerous but this danger increases during stormy weather.
  5. Drive cautiously and stay alert. Bridges, overpasses and shaded spots are a special danger because ice often forms first in these areas. Ever heard of hydroplaning? You don't want that to happen. Learn to read road conditions to anticipate a hazard.
  6. If you and your vehicle became swarmed with fog, slow down immediately. Use your low-beam lights, and don't stop on a highway unless it's an emergency.

The LA Times put together this nifty, retro-looking video to show you "How to Drive in the Rain." They also have some pretty salient tips on how to stay safe when you're not behind the wheel.

El Nino Tips


Photo Credit: Getty Images