Five Annoying Habits of Houston Drivers in the Rain

When you are driving in weather that looks like this (or worse), time to break some of these stupid habits.
When you are driving in weather that looks like this (or worse), time to break some of these stupid habits. Photo by Doogie Roux
Two things Houstonians like to complain about the most are the weather and traffic. We have a lot of both here. The weather is in the form of rain quite often, sometimes significant amounts. The traffic is always significant and never easy. But when you put the two of them together, it can get a little dicey out there.

Of course, you should follow basic safe driving in the rain as you would in all situations including keeping your speed down, not messing around with your phone, giving plenty of distance to the driver in front of you, etc. But, we seem to have some pretty annoying habits as Houstonians when it comes to driving in the wet stuff. Maybe we think the rules don't apply because we do it so often.

Whatever the case, you guys, stop it already.

Driving too close.

What is that about? It's bad enough when you tailgate in the sunshine. That's dangerous and really road rage-inducing. But, what the hell are you thinking running up on my bumper in a downpour? If I brake even a little, we're both going to be standing in the pouring rain calling our insurance companies. Check that, YOU will be standing in the rain calling YOUR insurance company because it wasn't my fault.

Slamming on the brakes.

On the other hand, if you are in traffic, try to remember that hitting your brakes hard is a really, really bad idea on a slick street. Not only does it create the possibility your brakes will lock up, especially in an older vehicle, but you are putting the people behind you in a very tough spot. I'm not going to tailgate you, but I can't guarantee there won't be a moment when a sudden stop won't result in a couple dented bumpers. So, try to ease up on the slamming down.

Hitting puddles...hard.

Years ago, my father was rolling down some side street after a soaking rain. As he approached an intersection, he noticed too late a pair of kids standing right near the curb next to a massive puddle. Unable to stop, he drenched both of them. This is the least of your worries when it comes to speeding through puddles. If you are going too quickly and hit one dead on, there is a decent chance your car will hydroplane. That puts everyone around you at risk of an accident, particularly on a freeway. So, keep the poor children in mind when racing around in the rain and try not to go speeding into any puddles if possible.

Not taking care of your car for rainy driving.

Certain equipment on your car really needs to function well in a rain storm. Defoggers are certainly a plus, but at a bare minimum, you need decent windshield wipers. I once saw a dude driving down the street in a beat up old truck with his left hand out the window trying to wipe a tiny spot with a rag so he could see. Sorry, bro, you need to park that hunk of junk for sunnier weather. Get your wipers replaced and make sure they are working. It's kinda important to be able to see when driving.

Driving into high water.

I'm not sure why it has to be repeated every time we get flash flooding, but here it goes again: NEVER EVER EVER EVER drive your car into water when you don't know how deep it is. That's three "ever's," you guys. That's serious. You could drown or force some good Samaritan to come to your rescue and risk his life or the new pair of shoes he just bought LAST WEEK. Go around, don't drown isn't just a catchy slogan. It's legit truth.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke