Beyond the Umbrella—How to Keep Your Car and Yourself Safe in the Rain

Ah, winter...and rain, what a nice addition to the season in San Diego. Yes, raining---a time when everyone in So Cal suddenly forgets how to drive. Except you, right? Well, that will be an answer in the affirmative once you read this. 

First, there's the care of your car. But, it's just rain, you say. It's not like we have to clean salt out of the wheel wells like our colder state cousins. It's not ice or snow. All true, however, just rain can just damage your exterior paint without you even realizing it. 

Here's what you can do:

Beware of the water marks that can leave dust and other minerals to eat away on your paint when the sun comes out. Wash your ride two to three times per month during the rainy season. Sounds like a lot, but if you keep up with it you'll prevent the build-up from stealing your shine. 

While you're at it, invest in some wax. Automotive wax offers an extra buffer against water marks and grime finding a home on your hood. It's best to do this prior to the downpour, but it still helps to protect paint whenever you can get a good coat of liquid or, better yet, thicker paste wax on there. 

Use your garage, if you have one, for your car and not as a floor-level attic. Garages are houses for cars, not for boxes of old clothes, old magazines, old photo albums, or basically anything old that won't fit in the rest of your home. With that said, if you don't have a garage or car port to park the car in, tuck it in with a car cover (automotive 'woobie') when not in use. This will go a long way in protecting your paint from not only rain but (mostly) perpetual San Diego sunshine as well. 

Check your windshield wipers before the next rain. This is a pretty important step for obvious safety reasons, but, for your car, dirty or cracked wiper blades can scratch your windshield glass. In order to avoid dust particles from building up in your wipers, clean them with a dry cloth and do the same for your windshield too. If the windshield is dirty to begin with, rain plus wiper action equals mud. And mud is hard to see through. 

Other safety tips that receive a very honorable mention:

Be sure you don't have cracks or damage in head or tail lights. Not only is it unsafe to drive around like that anyway, but rain can seep into the internal system and cause even more damage there. Consider adding fog lights if your vehicle is set up for that as they can improve road visibility. Also, always use your headlights when it is raining. Even it is the middle of the day, keep them on so other drivers can see you. Visibility is key. 

Tire tread is so crucial, especially in rain. Here's why: the tread of a tire is the rubber on the circumference that makes contact with the road. If the tread is not deep (3mm – 4mm) a thin film of water can form under the tire, causing it to lose gripping capability on the road. Hydroplaning is not fun and can, in fact, be life-threatening. Please, have your tires checked and replace them if they are going bald. Bald can be a good look on men, but never on tires friends. 

Take a break from the rat-race when it's raining cats and dogs. Look, there is a time for driving like a granny, as the young'ns say. After averaging 10 years of statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  researchers found that 46 percent of weather-related crashes happened during rainfall, but just 17 percent while it was snowing or sleeting. The reason, they figure, is that drivers do not respect the rain as they do the snow, sleet and ice. Meh, it's only rain...no biggie. Yes, biggie! Slow down, adjust your driving habits to the hazardous condition of wet roads. If you have to be out and about, relax and take it slow. This may be your only opportunity all week to have a valid excuse for being a little late. It's okay. Take a deep breath, start your engine and get to singing...then safely driving...in the beautiful So Cal rain. 

Toyota Carlsbad has you covered during the rainy season. Right now windshield wiper inserts and floor mats are on sale in the Parts Department. Swing by before the next storm moves in. Be safe (and clean) out there. Here's a coupon if you're interested!

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