Shout it from the rooftops! At long last, our extremely dry state is getting rain after (nearly) a year! Ask any Arizonan if they enjoy the rain and I will guarantee they say yes. If they don’t then they’re not really from here. Imposters! I find it hard to understand how some people scoff and turn their noses up when monsoon season starts. Sure, if you get devastating hurricanes and floods, that’s a different story, but rain is a miracle of life that allows nature to flourish! Rain is simply a beautiful phenomenon that I wish would occur more often here.
Ranting on how much I love the rain aside, there are certain things you should be wary of concerning your car when it rains. Not only are there things to watch for while driving, but there are many things you should throw in your vehicle before hitting the rainy streets.
Arizona and many other western states were not built for rain. Streets often flood, drains fail, and small roads quickly wash away. After years of experiencing monsoons, the state has done it’s best to prepare for the rain we do get, but the vicious flash floods that roar through the washes are enough to trump any measly precaution. Some states might get a slow steady rain for weeks while we get thousands of gallons dumped down in a single hour in violent downpours.
My point? You really should be extra cautious while driving in these types of storms. If you see that a road has water on it, assume it’s deeper than it looks and carries on slowly. Another thing, when you come across a road that dips into a wash that is running, under no circumstances should you try to cross it. Trust me, that water is far deeper, stronger, and faster than you think your car can handle. Find another way around.
Drivers in Arizona might think they know how to drive on wet roads, but they usually don’t. they’re either going too fast or unnecessarily slow. It does make sense though since we rarely get rain, but there is a big danger when traveling quickly on wet roads here.
Because many of our streets don’t drain properly, puddles of all sizes form all over the road. Most drivers think nothing of it until they go too quickly and their tired glide over the puddles like ice instead of through them like water. It’s a strange thing that happens but when it does you lose control of your ability to steer for those moments. Scary, I know.
However, you should never start breaking when this happens. That will make it worse and you will likely start swerving all over the road. All you do is let up off the gas. The small amount of deacceleration and your tires no longing being spun by the engine is enough to keep your car steady. Simple as that. Of course, it might not always work, there are no guarantees in life, but really you shouldn’t be going so fast in the first place
Okay, calm down, I doubt you’re going to have to start a new life on a Walmart roof while the town washes away. You could, however, get stuck on a high part of a road with both ways flooded and impassable. Not a huge deal since the rain will stop in a few hours and the roads will clear, but you should be ready. Have a small bag or box with some non-perishable food like granola bars, some bottled waters, a blanket or two, working flashlights, batteries, a radio, and maybe a card game.
The first thing you should do is call or text someone to tell them where you are, why, and if you need help immediately. If you need immediate help, call 911, don’t endanger your family or friends who are unskilled in reuse. Otherwise, let whoever know that you’re waiting it out and you’re fine. Listen to the radio for weather updates, and head out when it’s safe.
This also applies if it is raining hard enough that you can’t see. In this case, slowly pull into a parking space or to the side of the road and turn your lights off. From here, just wait it out.
Enjoy the Rain!
It’s so easy to get down about the rain, but I really encourage you to look at the bright side of it. The sun is fun and all, but the rain is so refreshing and rejuvenating. And if you really don’t care about that, then at least you don’t have to wash your car!! Have a great monsoon season and go out there and have some adventure!