Western Native American lore states if you see a particular sign in nature, the probability of significant rain in that winter is extremely high. As a sportsman, I recently saw this sign in nature. This is welcoming news since California is parched, and due for rain. As I thought about all the good that can come from this needed precipitation, I also thought that this is the perfect platform to warn new Central Valley commuters.

Over the years I have witnessed senseless accidents that could have been prevented if common thought entered the equation of water and wet roads.

So, here we go.

Oil naturally accumulates on hot highways because some vehicles leak oil. Consider, also, how tomato season has scores of tomato trucks leaking organic matter on the highway, further mixing with this oil. With the activation of water, there is a real potential for danger.

For as many years as I can remember, the first rain always come with quite a few accidents. Many are multiple car pile ups. Why? Because so many forget; you cannot drive at the same velocity on a wet road as on a dry road. The thin layer of water reduces tire traction and grip. Also, that bumper to bumper hugging becomes even more dangerous because stopping power is greatly reduced.

Let’s look at the particulars. Every corner or turn becomes a hazard because of simple science. The technical term in science is inertia. Which occurs when a vehicle enters a curve the driver turns into that curve, but the forces of nature want to move the car in a straight line. Challenge Mother Nature too greatly on any level, and Mother Nature always wins. Failure to slow on a curve in the rain, and you are sure to drive off the road.

This proves just as true in standing water, as in flowing water across a roadway. The faster one travels on a wet surface, the less the tire retains traction to said surface. The comfort level and quality of your vehicle play no role on a wet road.

I have witnessed single car incidents of all makes and models during rain. They pass with speed and confidence and then miles later you will see them on the side of the road or tipped on their side from an accident.

As you travel the 152 Pass, slow down, and please keep your distance.

Every turn and curve hold a high potential for an accident. At the crest of 152, there have been many accidents because it retains a thin layer of water. When traveling in both east and westbound directions, as you go down the hill, water crosses the roadway. Inevitably someone fails to slow, their vehicle hydroplanes, and you know how that story ends.

In closing, slow down, keep a safe space in front of you leave earlier, and don’t take chances. It’s not “uncool” to drive at a safe speed in the rain. Safe travels my commuting friends!

Rob Robinson