Social Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is it particular to So. Cal, or do all people drive like idiots when it rains?

Asked by tinyfaery (42729points) October 13th, 2009

Something happens to about 75% of Angelenos when the rainy season begins—they lose their common sense and driving skills. It’s just a bit of water people. I see people do the stupidest things. People either over-compensate for the rain or they drive like it’s sunny and 80∘. I love the rain, but hate, hate, hate the fact that driving anywhere becomes so difficult.

Is it like this where you live? If not, why do you think that L.A. drivers become so much worse when it rains? Or, why do people where you live have no problem driving in the rain?

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65 Answers

aphilotus's avatar

It’s just LA.

Having lived there and many other places, my hypothesis is that unlike the rest of the country, which was built around and reflecting natural geography, and so has, you know, dead-mans-curves and bad weather, LA is a big flat 8-lane-road grid, and since it’s all pretty flat, there are few places where one can actually, say, take a sharp turn and perish due to poor driving habits.

People aren’t challenged by LA the way they are by, say, Boston or Pittsburgh, so stupid people survive long enough to be TOTALLY FRIGHTENED AND CRAZED by rain, because it is so uncommon.

In the rest of the country, such drivers either a) die or b) get much better at driving very fast.

Hence LA being seemingly populated by driving morons.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Nope. Same things happens up north – after the first snow (or, dusting of snow, let’s say), everyone goes nuts on the road.

Sarcasm's avatar

Well, I can’t say about anywhere outside of Socal, but do feel safe in knowing that here in San Diego people became idiots overnight (Rain started here yesterday).

RedPowerLady's avatar

I live in Oregon. It rains here all the time. People still drive crazy. I don’t mind the overcompensating as it is safe. What I can’t stand are the maniacs. Now it really gets funny when we get our one snow of the season. Hello people you can’t drive that way in snow.

Dog's avatar

I have passed 3 accidents and witnessed a fourth in the last 3 hours. ( and it was such a nice new Mustang that hit the guardrail)

It may not just be southern California but we must rank amongst the most stupid in rain.

chyna's avatar

I thought it was just Ohio drivers.

El_Cadejo's avatar

We arent that bad in the rain though epony. Just snow. Oh shits gotta drive 5mph cause there is a quarter inch of snow on the ground.

In short, people are fucktarded.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@uberbatman i think your last sentence sums it up nicely.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

No, you don’t have the corner market on that. It happens all over. I dread the first snows here. I hope to stay home for self-defense.

janbb's avatar

I think we in the Northeast are pretty used to driving in rain; snow, at least in NJ, is sometimes a different story.

Dog's avatar

@uberbatman “Fucktarded” yeah- that says it all.

DominicX's avatar

Man, it’s raining everywhere today! It was raining hard here at Stanford and I had to bike a lot slower especially after I crashed into a girl today (no one fell or anything, but man, that was embarrassing…my first bike accident).

L.A., because it’s so crowded, is known for its erratic and pushy drivers. Maybe that just transfers to driving in the rain as well. (SF drivers are like that too—you have to be aggressive sometimes while driving in SF otherwise you won’t get anywhere). But I do agree that people overreact to rain on the road. Maybe they wouldn’t in Seattle where it rains 200/365 days a year…

RedPowerLady's avatar

@uberbatman Wouldn’t you rather they drive 5mph than 65mph while forgetting to check their brake time and slide through the stop light?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Not raining here today, heh heh. In fact, its nice and sunny, and it was 42 degrees when I got up at 9:30am, plus there was a nice stiff breeze from the northwest. Wonderful Autumn weather.

One thing about the rain. During the first few minutes of a rainstorm, the roads get greasy due to the dirt and oil and crap on the surface. Once it washes to the side, then the roads are just wet. Traveling above 50 mph and you will start to hydroplane. Once you start doing that, you might as well be driving on ice.

Come visit me in January, I’ll show you some stupid drivers. The ones in the ditch are common; the ones in the ditch upside down are the REAL idiots.

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery Yeah- may the demolition derby begin!

casheroo's avatar

It always amazes me how people react to weather while driving, in different parts of the US.

I think in my area, people drive like jackasses regardless of the weather. People still speed or whatever, and then hydroplane and then wonder what the hell happened. At the same time, I notice my Michigan relatives are much more comfortable with snowy weather than I am, but when we vacationed in Vegas and it rained…it was like the craziest thing ever. It was ALL over the news, it barely rained but it flooded the streets and people were going nuts and getting caught in the rain all over. We just watched the news in awe of how they were reacting….but, apparently it hadn’t rained in a while and they just aren’t used to it.

@uberbatman That’s Jersey. I don’t associate with Jersey drivers ;)

chyna's avatar

@casheroo Agreed. I missed a Dr. apt. today because a tractor trailor was going too fast in a curve and rolled on its side and blocked the entire interstate.

jqlyn's avatar

Even in Portland, where it rains a lot, they still can’t drive. But I am from NY so maybe I think they all can’t drive.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@casheroo amen on the jersey drivers. i guess they didn’t get the message to stop tailgating at least during a snow storm.

inkvisitor's avatar

Gee, in Houston rain not only bolsters moronic driving, it’s a concrete wonderland so there’s a lot of flash flooding – plenty of “car in water” shows to observe. No, that’s not a mirage…d’oh!

Add the rare occurrence of rain freezing on the road and look out! The city will pretty much shut down…!

Supacase's avatar

I agree, @casheroo. Depending on where you live, people freak out over different things. Rain is no big deal here, but let it snow and the city is filled with idiotic drivers heading to the store for milk and bread. (I have never seen anything like the milk & bread thing!) Then again, my relatives in the north are good with snow, but spaz out driving on ice. (I spaz on ice, too, so I avoid driving on it at all costs.) It all depends on what you are used to.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@inkvisitor i remember houston. everything there thinks a duelie stops on ice at 70mph the same as on dry concrete. idiots.

andrew's avatar

So, today, I was about to grab some In-N-Out in the valley right before I had to be home for some racquetball ( I hadn’t eaten and I needed some food). I put my blinker on, looked behind me, and quickly moved across left lane into the center suicide lane, behind two other cars waiting to turn left into the lot. Now, I’m not going to lie. It was a quick maneuver—but I made sure I had plenty of space before I did it.

I saw that the line for the food was super long, so I put my right blinker on, looked behind me, and merged back into traffic.

That’s when I heard the screaming.

About 30 feet in front of the two cars waiting to turn left was a green lexus sedan parked in the suicide lane, and already out of the car were two guys in their mid twenties. Screaming at me and walking to my car. In the rain.

I was puzzled, since I hadn’t heard nary a beep, nor was there anyone within 3 seconds of the lane I crossed when I checked behind me. Maybe they were mad that I wasn’t totally in the middle lane.

I looked at them as I drove past, rolled my eyes, and continued on my way. Then I though, “I bet they’re going to try and catch up with me”.

Sure enough, at the next light, they came roaring up to my side, screaming at me to pull the fuck over (Why? To get all wet?). I just grinned at them (which really didn’t make them happy). I was a little sad when they drove off, since I wanted to really tell them “No, no, please. Scream. I think it makes you feel better.”

So, yes. Rain turns people into absolute idiots in SoCal.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@andrew in similar situations, i like to add a “Have a great day!” and smile. but that’s me.

andrew's avatar

I love to smile and wave if people honk. Like they’re happy to see me.

SuperMouse's avatar

I always wondered the same thing. Living in The Cornfield I have discovered that it is not just Southern Californians who have no idea how to drive in weather of any kind. Every single time it snows here I see a minimum of four cars spun out on the side of the freeway on any given two mile stretch. Not only do they have trouble in weather, they are bad drivers in general. We have a joke in our family that every freeway shooting we ever heard about in LA had to have involved a driver from the town where we now live.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@aphilotus pretty much nailed it! I grew up there and upon visiting, I always felt that way, heh.

Dog's avatar

“Why? To get all wet?” lol4rl!

We used to be rural (remember @SuperMouse)? and every time we got good rain the guys with their big trucks would go out mud-whompin’ in the fields-only to get hopelessly stuck in the adobe clay. Then they would get a friend with a real short tow rope to pull them out only to get stuck himself. Once there was a line of 5 trucks out in the open field and a bunch of muddy guys scratching their heads.

kibaxcheza's avatar

First snow in the DC met. area, youll have 40 to 60 car pile-ups….. its annoying…

I had the same girl in a silver BMW almost hit me 3 times on a 5 mile stretch

tabbycat's avatar

Your question made me smile. I had a horrible drive coming home tonight, going from L.A. to the Valley! The first rain of the season is always like this. We go for so many months without rain in L.A., and when it comes, it’s as if everyone has forgotten how to drive in the wet stuff. It’s odd, really, because when it does decide to rain, we really get some torrential storms here. It’s like the song says, “It never rains in Southern California. It pours.”

The only other place I’ve had a lot of experience driving is Northern California, and I have to say I think Northern Californians handle the rain better than we do. But they have it at more frequent intervals than we do, so I guess they are more used to it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@RedPowerLady thats like saying would you rather be frozen solid or fired into the sun. Ill take neither. How about drive like a normal human being?

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’m in south florida where it rains 95% of the time, and the people here drive EXTRA horrendously during that time. so i don’t think it’s just california.

derekfnord's avatar

Nah, it’s not just SoCal. At a minimum, it’s NorCal too. It seems like most dingdongs on the road are divided into two camps… those who don’t slow down at all to account for the conditions, and those who slow down way too much

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

I really think it’s just LA. People don’t drive well when it rains out, but I’ve found that LA drivers are by far the worse. I can’t really blame them- the streets in the Valley were pretty flooded today and that seems to happen with even a small amount of rain.

Alek2407's avatar

it only last like a week, then everyone adapts to the rain, and this happens all over California

sccrowell's avatar

@andrew you were in the Valley and didn’t stop by to say hello? Hmmm, I thought that was you, I was in the beautiful red mustang three cars backs and not the one kissing the center Guardrail.
Actually, I’m kidding about everything but the hello and beautiful red mustang.
@uberbatman, Fucktarded? Gosh, I love it!!!

deni's avatar

I live in Pittsburgh. It rains all the time. When its not raining, people drive like idiots. When it is raining, people still drive like idiots but maybe 10 MPH slower. It’s awful any day of the week around here and any weather condition.

bennihan's avatar

Breaking News: Rain causes people to have less brain function when driving.

Well just kidding but everywhere I’ve ever been whether its driving down I-95, PCH, or the @deni Penna Turnpike (which absolutely sucks and is way too expensive), people have typically become worse at driving. You are not alone. Maybe you should try moving somewhere that it doesn’t rain.

deni's avatar

@bennihan They raised the prices again!! And its still littered with potholes. What a disgrace.

galileogirl's avatar

Pedestrians in SF have a death wish at the best of times but to run across a 4 lane avenue against the light wearing black from head to toe in the pitch dark pourinng rain is NUTS!!

whatthefluther's avatar

It has nothing to do with the rain in Los Angeles. It’s all about the splash. You know, that murky water the guy next to you kicks up and splashes at you. It may be there because of the rain or from a busted hydrant, drained pool or landscape irrigation overflow. Where ever it came from, once it has met the road it gets brown, dirty, oily and murky. And there is not a single driver in all of Los Angeles whose ego can stand to be the splash receiver watching in horror as that gunky water smacks their windshield and envelops their entire vehicle. So when one see standing water across a couple of lanes, it becomes a competition….who will secure the splasher crown versus who will slink away dejected and degraded as the splashee with crap and trash clinging to their car for all to see as they leave behind a trail of dripping gunk water. The splasher keeps the crap isolated to within his fender area while the splashee is a public mockery, or so it feels to the driver. So it becomes a race to the standing water. And quite often, that results in hydroplaning, loss of control and accidents. So in L.A., don’t blame it on the rain…’s the mad dash to the splash! See ya….Gary/wtf

OpryLeigh's avatar

It’s not just LA, I live in the south-west of England and I find that there are far more hold ups/traffic jams when it is raining. I think people tend to panic when there is heavier rain than usual and either drive really slow or are constantly slamming on the breaks. Living in England we are very used to rain but I especially find that traffic gets worse when we have had a few days of sunshine and then suddenly it starts raining again. It’s almost as though people have gotten used to a piddly amount of dry weather that they panic and forget how to drive when it rains again!!!

Allie's avatar

I notice a lot more accidents at the beginning of the rainy season than in the middle or the end. I think this has to do with a) people not knowing how to drive in the rain, b) they forget what driving was like last season or something, and c) there’s oil from cars that have been driving on the road all the dry seasons and the rain makes it slick.
The last reason was a suggestion from someone sitting next to me who refuses to make a Fluther account.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@sccrowell it is a great word isnt it :P

RedPowerLady's avatar

@uberbatman lol, okay I can accept that :) but I drive a bit slow in the rain myself, certainly not 5mph but about 5mph under the limit

justn's avatar

I think its funny that everyone (myself included) who has posted here says that everyone else drives like idiots in the rain like we’re all the best drivers out there.

But yeah, I live in Bakersfield, which is basically a big suburb of LA and a lot of people drive like idiots here too when it starts to rain. Its absolutely maddening!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@justn You mean we are supposed to admit our foibles?

tinyfaery's avatar

I’ve never been in an accident in the rain. Just sayin’.

justn's avatar

@RedPowerLady I don’t care if people admit their mistakes. I just find it funny that everyone I talk to about driving assumes that they are the best driver out there.

Although, it does makes sense that Fluther members would be good drivers.

galileogirl's avatar

At least we are defensive drivers. Yesterday I got honked at for going 35 in a 40 MPH at the height of the storm by people going more tha 50.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@galileogirl Ya I get those honks too. I think to myself, you can pass me and drive as fast as you want but you aren’t going to convince me to drive any faster especially by honking at me. And I always get the honks when I am 5mph under the limit in the rain.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Nope, rain has a mentally debilitating effect on both Floridian drivers and those in the french riviera. The effect is different though. In Florida they keep speeding like the road is clear even though you can’t see past the hood, it’s rush hour and it’s the deluge of the century, while in the south of france they’re paralyzed by fear and won’t move.

kheredia's avatar

I think its funny how in SoCal rain becomes news! Seriously, you turn on the news and all you hear about is how people are preparing for the rain (like if we really get that much rain out here). It drives me nuts! People need to get over it! Rain is part of nature.. it happens, so live wit it!

chyna's avatar

More rain today, another 5 car pile-up, another 2 hours for me to get home. Crazy drivers are everywhere.

kibaxcheza's avatar

accident on 79
took me an hour to get to fairmont from morgantown (originally a 15 to 20 min drive)

skfinkel's avatar

Don’t get me started on the driving in California. My recent experience is around SF, and it is ugly.

Dr_C's avatar

I don’t know if it’s a local, regional or national thing… but in my mind when driving in the rain that describes everyone else but me. I will however smile and wave at the road ragers jsut to freak them out.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@tinyfaery The only times I have had accidents have been in glorious sunshine. What the hell does that say about my driving!!!!

kibaxcheza's avatar

(oh god imma have fun with this)

my latest accident was in the rain…. i got nailed in the butt.

Sarcasm's avatar

Sorry to hear that. That doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with driving though.
hyuk hyuk hyuk, I’m so funnay

kibaxcheza's avatar

lol that would be the point lol

MerMaidBlu's avatar

same thing happens everywhere I’ve lived, except England where it’s always raining lol. For some reason people lose their common sense just because of a two degree change in temperature.

What I would like to know is why do they drive like it’s 80 and sunny when the roads are covered in ice and snow and someone could really get hurt because someone isn’t practicing common sense…when the roads are slick you don’t crowd people…DUH!!!!

LadyMarissa's avatar

I live on the East Coast & we have the same problem when it rains. We normally have very mild winters; but God forbid anything freezes & they become raving lunatics!!!

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