Rain After Drought Makes Roads Slicker than Usual

By: Forrest Sanders Email
By: Forrest Sanders Email

The rainfall is definitely needed across the area, but something you may not have thought of is that the wet roads could actually be more slippery following a long drought.

It's a face that highway and transportation departments know all too well, and they're cautioning area drivers to be careful on the rain drenched roads.

It's a Tuesday afternoon on Lover's Lane, but no ones driving the 35 mile an hour speed limit. That's because of a major road construction project, and a six-foot-wide, one-foot-deep sinkhole, likely caused by two days of rain.

"As soon as we realized what happened, we dug it all the way down to the bedrock. The hole was about 15 feet deep and we filled it back up with rock," explained Kiersten Jaggers, with the Department of Highways.

That's one problem solved. But as these motorists speed back up, they've got more to worry about on the roads than just sink holes.

"With that long period of no rain, you have that buildup of oil and grease on the roads from the vehicles and whatnot. When it does start to rain, it just intensifies the slickness and it gets really slippery out there," Jaggers continued.

And that means drivers have to take more precautions than usual and speeding has to stop.

"People have basically forgotten how to drive in the rain. They want to maintain that speed of 80, 85 and 90 miles an hour and you can't do that," Jaggers said.

She added that in a few days, the amount of rain will wash the roads clean of much of the excess oils and grease. But that's no reason to put your foot back on the accelerator, especially with unexpected dangers on the road.

For speeders, Jagger's has some simple advice.

"Slow down! Don't think, 'I've got brand new tires and I have an airbag and I've got a seat belt on and I can still go 80 down the interstate.' Put down your cell phone because you really need to pay attention to the roads, especially with the weather change," Jaggers said.

She also wants to remind drivers that it's important to apply your brakes sooner when driving in slippery conditions.

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