WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Today, the first measurable rainfall in over 70 days began falling across Whatcom County locations.
Motorists are advised to be wary that precipitation on roads that have sat dry for such an extended period creates the potential for a significant driving hazard.
With precipitation falling an average of 160 or more days a year, Whatcom County drivers are accustomed to driving in rain. But driving in the rain after such an extended dry period is something less familiar.
During rainy weather, leaking liquids from vehicles and rubber from tires are washed off road surfaces and the road surfaces are not slick. But, during a period of dry weather these substances build up and form a layer so when rain finally arrives, it mixes with it forming something similar to an oil slick. Drivers can then expect to encounter conditions as slick or slicker than an ice-covered road as the oily mixture reduces tire traction and increases the potential for skidding and longer stopping distances.
These slick conditions can continue until the oily coating is washed away which depends on how much rain falls and for how long as well as the amount of traffic on the road.
Driving experts advise slowing down and being extra careful when driving during these conditions.