Thursday, January 21, 2010

Las Vegas News This Week: Rain, Rain, Rain

Rain in the desert is a rarity. That's why it's the big news this week. If you're lucky enough to be at home, this week-long storm is probably a welcome break from the Las Vegas standards of sunny and clear. But if you have to drive anywhere, you might not appreciate the rain so much.

If you're from another part of the country, rain in Las Vegas probably looks pretty wimpy to you. That's why so many accidents happen during our infrequent rainfalls. Our rain is usually a steady, drizzly rain. For the most part, visibility remains pretty good. I've been in downpours in Texas and Wisconsin that made it impossible to see beyond the car's windshield. But that's where people get into trouble here--underestimating rain in the desert can get you into serious trouble. If you're headed out on the roadways while it's raining, be careful and remember:

1. Don't underestimate the driving hazards of Las Vegas rain. Yes, I know, you can see for blocks ahead. And yes, the water doesn't look that deep. Perhaps you're familiar with hydroplaning? You've seen those people in the big SUVs and pickups, speeding along like there's no rain. You can almost hear the scorn emanating from their vehicles: "Get out of my way, slow drivers! My gigantic vehicle with the big tires, four-wheel drive, and anti-lock brakes can drive through anything!" But it's not about what you can drive through. It's about stopping. This morning I saw a one-vehicle accident where an SUV had taken out a couple of utility boxes and landed on the sidewalk, in the rocks, facing the wrong way. Slow down, people.

2. Be a defensive driver. Even if you're driving safely, there's all those people who don't feel it's necessary to slow down. Put a little extra distance in between you and the person in front of you. You remember driver's ed, right? You did take driver's ed.... right?

3. The water doesn't have to be deep to be dangerous. Have you seen those billboards about the dangers of driving into flood waters? The reason we've got those billboards is because drivers consistently think they can make it through flooded roadways. Guess again. It's not the depth of the water, it's the speed at which it's moving. They don't call them "flash floods" for nothing. When in doubt, pick another route.

If you don't have to go out while it's raining, stay at home. It's much easier to enjoy the Las Vegas rain when you don't have to drive in it. Less than an hour ago, we had snow flurries at my house. And if you think Las Vegas drivers have issues with rain.... you can just imagine what they're like with snow!
My pictures of the Sahara/Ft. Apache area today at about 2:15 p.m. Unfortunately, due to technical issues between Blogger, my computer, and my photo editing software, the quality of these pictures is a bit low.
The Review-Journal posted a great slide show of the rain and snow.


buy compact flash 2gb said...

really i heard this news I am upset because I am planning to go there for vacation It is really a very nice one.

TH Meeks said...

When are you planning to be here for vacation? We don't have a lot of rain, and if you're here on vacation, you probably won't be driving much, and even if you are out driving, you just have to use common sense. I've lived here all my life and never had an accident in the rain because I'm careful to drive defensively. Don't let a little rain stop you from coming!