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Driving in the Rain a.k.a. Keeping All the JoJos From Hitting Me

Driving in the Rain

When I drive to New Orleans to visit my parents, the running joke is that no matter the day I arrive or the day I drive back to Atlanta, it’s gonna rain.  I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to traveling…the rain just knows I’m on the road.  My last trip back was particularly torrential for *almost literally* the entire 500 miles.

rain

This got me to thinking about all the people on the road around me who were likely doing dumb things while navigating the storm and trying not to smash into me.  I like to just call all of them “JoJo” to make it easier for me to fuss at them.   Based on those terrifying thoughts, I developed a plan to help me make it home without incident and avoid the JoJos.

  1. Turn on your headlights. Lots of states require headlights when it rains. Not only will they help you see ahead of you, but headlights also help other drivers  JoJo see YOU. Never use bright lights as the light will reflect back at you off the water.
  2. Ditto for hazard lights. If it’s really coming down, I will put on my hazard lights so others around me JoJo can see my car.  Side note: Be aware of trailers being pulled (by JoJos) that don’t have tail lights and for motorcyclists with one tiny, hard-to-see tail light. Both are hard to see in the rain.
  3. Keeping both hands on the steering wheel will allow you to react to slippery roads, windy conditions and other hazards like fallen tree limbs and the JoJos.
  4. Do not BE a JoJo and try to use your cell phone while driving in the rain.
  5. Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.  Five car lengths (or one car length per 10 miles per hour) is good. I’m always the one that maintains that distance, then some JoJo will merge in front of me and mess it all up!
  6. Know the condition of your tires. Do they have plenty of tread for traction or are they a little worn and may not grip as well? Adjust your speed accordingly.  Same goes for windshield wipers. Make sure they’re always in good shape and work well.
  7. Keep your distance from big trucks and buses. Do you always get stuck behind a tractor trailer? Me, too. The spray from their tires makes it so hard to see and the wind coming off the trailer gets crazy.  These JoJos are more susceptible to being blown around by high winds, so watch out for the swaying and swerving. Their response time is significantly longer, too.
  8. Brake earlier and with less force than you usually would. Tapping your brakes lightly also dries off the rotors.
  9. If you’re uncomfortable driving in the rain, it’s always ok to pull over and wait it out. Leave the road to the JoJos.

This year has been particularly rainy here in the South. We’re forced to drive in crazy rain all the time. After all, someone has to maintain this mind-numbing, stress-inducing level of “traffic at all hours of the day” here in Atlanta. I can only hope that my fellow commuters have read this and are reminded to drive safely and leave me alone. The repercussions of an accident and “car far” (that’s Southern for car fire, y’all) on the downtown connector are often irreparable – not to mention the wrath of my mom who would burn down Georgia to get to the JoJo who decided they wanted my little spot on the road while I was using it.

Be safe, friends.