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Breaking: L.A. Drivers Completely Unable To Handle A Quarter-Inch Of Rain

Rainy day on an L.A. road (Photo by victoriabernal via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Los Angeles drivers are notorious for being unable to handle the rain, but the roads this morning were pretty nuts, even for us. California Highway Patrol Officer Juan Galvàn told LAist that CHP received a whopping 142 calls for service in L.A. during the four-hour period between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., Monday morning. For context, Galvàn said that the department received 24 such calls during the same four-hour period last Monday. According to Galvàn, the presence of rain typically "doubles or triples" the number of calls to their department.

Erik Scott, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, told LAist that his department started to see an increase in crashes around 5 a.m., and things "really stepped up" after 6 a.m. According to Scott, LAFD responded to 75 traffic collisions between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

So what kind of monsoon unleashed the citywide chaos? Approximately a quarter-inch of rain (.29 inches, to be exact) fell this morning, according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet. In fairness to us, this was the first rain of the season, meaning the roads were extra slick, according to both the National Weather Service and CHP (and my mom).

Sweet told LAist that the morning showers, if we can even call them that, were caused by a cold front dropping down from the northwest. The drizzle should clear up by noon. In other news, it's going to be 99 degrees out on Thursday.

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In the meantime, some tips for drivers from the LAFD, courtesy of Scott:

  • Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning.
  • Turn on your lights: your headlights will help other cars see you. It's also the law to have your headlights on when using your windshield wipers.
  • Avoid using cruise control. Although it works great during dry conditions, it increases the chances of losing control of your vehicle on wet roads.
  • If your car does start to skid, "don't panic." Instead, follow these two basic steps: 1) continue to and steer in the direction that you want your car to go, and 2) avoid slamming on your brakes, as that will further upset your vehicle's balance.

And finally, today's drizzle doesn't mean you can go back to your pre-drought long showers. According to Sweet, "this amount of rain" will not have an effect an effect on the drought.