Motorists Should Prepare for Rain-slick Valley Roadways


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District:  District 3 - Marysville
Contact:  Gilbert Mohtes-Chan
Phone:  (530) 741-4571; (530) 682-6145


Marysville — Motorists should prepare for slick driving conditions and possible flooded roadways because of the season’s first major storm in the greater Sacramento Valley.

The National Weather Service predicts thunderstorms may bring accumulating hail and up to an inch of rain in the Valley through Wednesday. Showers are expected to continue into Thanksgiving.  The storm is forecast to dump up to three feet of snow on the mountain passes on Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50.

Caltrans advises motorists to allow extra time to reach their destination because of wet roads, urban flooding and gusty winds causing downed tree branches and power outages.  

The first rain after a period of dry weather will create poor driving conditions. The water mixes with all the dirt, oil, grease, and grime steadily accumulating throughout the summer, leaving roads incredibly slippery. 

Caltrans reminds motorists that wet roadways reduce traction on tires and that it takes twice as long to stop on a wet highway than on a dry one. Visibility is also reduced in the rain.

Here are some tips for driving safely in the rain:

  • As a rule, don’t drive in water if you can’t see road markings. A vehicle can float in just one foot of water. It’s safer to turn around and find another route.
  • Try to stay in the middle lane where flooding is less likely.
  • Drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. This allows the vehicle ahead to displace any standing water that’s on the road.
  • Reduce speed and allow extra space between vehicles.
  • If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal, but don’t push hard on the brakes. Instead, apply the brakes in a steady manner and steer in the direction of the skid. For vehicles with anti-lock brakes, apply more pressure to the brakes, but avoid pumping them.
  • After driving through a puddle, tap the brake pedal to help dry out the brake pads.
  • Turn on headlights.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.

Caltrans will issue updates on Twitter updates on Twitter @CaltransDist3 and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict3. For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans’ QuickMap or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play.

Weather information is available from the National Weather Service here