NewsLocal News


Santa Maria CHP shares some of the most accident prone areas ahead of incoming storms

Posted at 8:48 PM, Jan 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 11:13:25-05

The roads and highways stayed dry Sunday, but drivers can expect a wet commute as they make their way out the door Monday.

Driving in the rain can be stressful for some people.

“I have my baby in the car and I want to be careful but I can’t control other drivers,” said driver Gloria Flores.

Officials advise keeping a safe distance and preparing for the unexpected.

“When it comes to tailgating, you gotta give a little more space because when you brake in the rain, you don’t have as much time to stop,” said driver Garrett Black.

Officer Matthew Kenny from the California Highway Patrol says there are several accident-prone areas in northern Santa Barbara County when the rain starts to come down, one of them being the Santa Maria River Bridge.

“There’s always one or two crashes on the bridge on a good rain day and what we’ll do when we get a call like that we’ll come up and run a traffic break, back and forth, slowing people down, so if you see us going across all the lanes back and forth, we’re trying to slow everybody down so they don’t pass us up and come up on the traffic hazard before we do,” Officer Kenny explained.

Heading toward Lompoc could prove troublesome for some.

“People seem to lose control and they go into the center divider during the rain, it gets really soft. So once they go in there, they overturn into there or they slide off into there and then they can’t get out because it’s so soft,” Officer Kenny said.

The windy Harris Grade Road near Lompoc can be dangerous in wet conditions as well.

“In the rain, you have to be extra careful because you can slide off the side of the road.”

If you do find yourself starting to hydroplane, Officer Kenny says it’s best to always keep both hands on the steering wheel and try not to brake hard.

“The automatic instinct is hit the brakes or slam on the brakes when they start to hydroplane and that’s just going to make it worse and make the car go one way or the other and then you have the steering and then they just lose control.”

Officer Kenny also recommends if you have some sort of mechanical issue with your car like a flat tire while it’s raining, try to make off at the next exit so you’re not at risk at the edge of the highway.