Slick Streets

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The first rain of the season. Notorious for traffic accidents, due to both the actual hazardous condition of water meeting a whole summer’s worth of grease and oil drips on the asphalt, and to the unsavvy drivers who refuse to acknowledge that braking distance and steering control all are affected by the rain.

I love walking home through SF in the rain, but after working late tonight I opted to hop the California cable car, and snap some shots of rainy reflectance on the route home. As we crested Nob Hill and started the downhill slide, the cable car (inadvertently?) ran a red light. Now, the braking distance for a standard vehicle is one thing – but for a cable car? Even with the conductor applying maximum torque on the ‘brake’, we were not stopping anytime soon. Cross-traffic was well in motion, and I had a VERY close up view (perched on the outside bench at the front of the car) of our by-the-hair-of-your-chin near miss on a Range Rover treking northbound. I was definately braced for impact.

Fortunately, the RR driver grasped that the cable car wasn’t in full control, and managed to gun it forward, resulting in the near miss. Had the driver reacted with a slam on the brakes? WHAM.

This brings up a point, that different situations call for different reactions. Check out a few tips on prepping yourself to deal with the inevitable mishaps that a few drops of the wet stuff (combined with the standard driver distractions) might cause.

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