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From the urban sprawl of liberal Los Angeles to the state’s rural, conservative north, California is a diverse place. However, California’s citizens do have one thing in common, an inability to drive in the rain.
For a long time, this stereotype was reserved for L.A. drivers, and stats showing the city has twice as many crashes during rainstorms would appear to back that up. But with adverse weather conditions intensifying across the whole state, it has become a widespread problem.
Read on to learn how climate change is affecting California’s motorists. And if you’re looking for cheap California car insurance, compare quotes with Jerry to find the lowest rate.
Can people from L.A. really not drive in the rain?
Motorists from L.A. are often criticised for their inability to drive in wet conditions. Supporting this position, California Highway Patrol data shows that crashes double in L.A. during rainstorms.
However, LAist cites Federal Highway weather expert Paul Pisano, who claims that injury collisions double or triple during bad weather across the country. Statistically speaking, L.A. drivers are no worse than those in other cities.
Pisano goes on to say that driving in L.A. can be a nightmare during the rain, but it is mostly due to the sheer volume of traffic, rather than bad drivers. Basically, driving in L.A. is terrible in any weather, rain just makes things worse.
Car crashes on the rise as California’s climate changes
A recent study from Jerry’s Data Journalism team has found that climate-related crashes in America have almost doubled over the last 15 years.
The three states which have been most impacted are Texas, Florida, and California, in that order. These states all have a large coastline, a vulnerability when it comes to climate change.
In California, the number of climate-related motor vehicle accidents has increased by an average of 423, every single year since 2005.
Now, anyone living in California is aware that the most obvious impact of climate change has been severe drought, so why is driving becoming more difficult? Where does rain come into it?
Well after extended periods of dry weather, there is an excessive buildup of grime and oil on the roads. The longer the drought, the larger the build up. When the rain finally does arrive, these materials rise to the surface, causing hazardous conditions.
Additionally, after long dry spells, the ensuing rainstorms tend to be more intense. Fierce storms make the already slippery roads even worse, and appear to be the driving force behind California's increasing number of climate-related accidents.
State leaders are attempting to slow down climate change in California. The most well-known measure, and the one that will likely have the biggest impact, is enforcing all new cars to meet zero emissions standards by 2035. Californians, and indeed the rest of the country, must hope it’s not too late to turn back the clock.