The good people of Texas have many skills. (Find out some of the ones you don’t currently own by reading Andrea Valdez’s book How To Be A Texan, editor-in-chief of TexasMonthly.com!) However, one skill not featured in the pages of this volume is “Driving in the rain ”- and for good reason. Texans stink of it. Boy, Texans stink of it.
Flying down the freeway at 85 mph? We’re great at it when it’s dry. Enduring the nerve-wracking deadlock in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio every day? We do it with charm, class and self-confidence. But navigating a road when as much as a simple drizzle falls from the sky is beyond the ability of the average Texan. We don’t mean to beat up our beloved homes or our Texans, but we owe it to ourselves to be honest about our shortcomings.
Texans ride in the rain. pic.twitter.com/W7V7DpKJkZ
– Dan Lascoskie (@dlascoskie) May 18, 2016
That became evident this week when the sky parted and a sacred torrent of rain fell over much of the state. As a result, the bad drivers are in place. And one Texan – a lonely Texan with a vision and a dream – drew a line in the dust and said, “Enough.” Tonya Dansby of Central Texas Driving School told KXXV that she is now running a special program for driving in the rain.
“We have an entire module devoted to driving in the rain, so we want to make sure they know what to do,” Dansby told the station’s Noel Smart, explaining this instead of waiting for the clouds to pass If it starts raining before the drivers are back on the road, their program will get them back on the road. “We don’t close whenever it rains,” she said. “We make sure our drivers go out so that every child can benefit from the rainy conditions as much as possible.”
Classes last a full two hours and are available to both teenagers and adults.
For those embarrassed to admit they could be a part of this Texan troop – unlike many of us who assume we’re the exception to the rule – we provide some of the basics for driving in the Rain coming to us from the Texas Department of Insurance.
Going slower than usual in the rain is a good idea, but not so far that it becomes a road hazard is not particularly helpful. However, if you normally accelerate, commuting during a thunderstorm is an ideal time to ease your lead foot. More important than paying attention to your speedometer, however, is your following distance. That’s about three seconds in good conditions – if the car in front of you passes that Whataburger billboard, you should have the same orange and white temptation three seconds later – but give yourself a few more seconds in rainy weather. If everyone watches this, traffic will still flow efficiently, the commute rate will largely remain unchanged, and everyone will have more time to react to the conditions. The middle lane is a better place than the left and right lanes as the water pools on the roadsides. Try not to brake when you need to slow down. If you have a reasonable chase distance, you should be able to slow down by taking your foot off the gas, which will reduce the risk of skidding.
Read the guide for more details as the forecast in North, East, Central and Southeast Texas is pretty bleak in the days to come.