Driving advice from a 16 year old

Wow, I just walked in the door from driving home. It was a very rainy day today in Eugene OR. Anyway, I was driving home at almost 6 oclock. I just dropped off my friend and was headed towards home. I live off a very long road named Oakway. The car that was in front of me just pulled off, so I was inclined to speed up. I foolishly got it up to 60 and then started to cruise. At this point the road take a pretty large dip, bout 20 feet I’d say. I say that there was another car I was coming upon. I started to brake cuz it was coming up kinda fast, it then put on its brakes cuz it was turning right at the bottom of the dip. I applied more pressure to the brakes. My car freaking fishtailed with my front end going into the refuge lane(its a pretty big 3 lane road) and my big end facing the curb. I tried to get it straight and then the car swerved facing the other way. At this point, the other car had turned into the street, I nearly missed it. The car kept on swerving and it pulled almost a 180. The car had moved towards the right and I hit the edge of the curb where the two streets are cornered. I calmly turned it around and finished home. All I gotta say is, Holy shit, don’t go fast in the rain. There was no visible damage(it’s dark outside). But when I got out of the car, my legs felt really weak and my heart was pounding.
So, yeah, that’s it.


I feel for ya, griffey, I really do. And let me add to that some advice from a girl who was 17 at the time: don’t go fast when there is snow on the ground. Especially when you don’t know the road you’re on. It was dead dark outside, I was taking directions from my friends (I was driving them to a formal dinner), they didn’t tell me about the 90-degree-turn-up-a-hill that was about to come up, I saw it almost too late, locked my brakes up before I remembered to pump them, and was helped to a complete stop that did NOT involve flying over a cliff into the Hudson River, thanks to a friendly neighborhood guard-rail. And all that happened was I busted the cover on my front left turn signal and put a scrape on my bumper. I managed to ascribe the damage to getting nudged by another car in the parking lot.

It’s a horrible feeling when you know you’re going to crash, isn’t it? And that “omigawd” feeling takes a while to fade, too. Took me half the dance to get my legs to stop feeling so rubbery!

Holy smokes. Thank goodness you’re okay.

That being said, it could be kinda good, in a way, that you learned this lesson this way. Too many people think that they don’t have to make any adjustments when they drive in bad weather. The town I live in, for example, is full of piss-poor drivers who don’t adjust. All it takes is a thin sheet of rain, enough to float the oil off the road surface, and BAM! twenty accidents all over town.

Slow down. Leave a bigger space cushion. Signal way in advance so that people know where you’re going and can plan. And be aware of what’s around you at all times. It takes some extra care and concentration, but it keeps you safe.

Does any other doper find this a rush?
You know getting out on a back road somewhere and just flying down it at piss-scary speeds?
I do this all the time I’ve only had one wreck due to this.

Whoo! kgriffey79, good description - I rode it around with you.

I certainly won’t make light of it dear, 'cause I’ve seen how fast it can all go bad. I’m glad you’re OK. The experience gradually adds up.

kgriffey79 and other young Dopers, please drive carefully. We don’t need any Dopers obits. We’d miss you. You can get so broke they can’t fix you, even at your age.

Driving when there is standing water on the pavement is just as dangerous as driving in snow, in some ways it can be more so. Slow down. Don’t outdrive your visibility. Tap your brakes occasionally to dry your rotors and to test how the car would react if you need to stop the car in an emergency. If it feels like you don’t have traction then slow down some more. If you live in a place like Portland where rain is a common occurrence then it is probably worthwile to find a big, open space during a rainstorm, get the car up to a decent speed and then stomp on the brakes to see what happens. A deserted parking lot without light poles is good for this. Know your vehicle.

Seriously, glad you are okay but please take something away from this.

On rural Australian roads, concrete culverts are common in places where the road crosses a creek which is usually dry or just a trickle. You’ll see a sign saying “DIP” and slow down from 60mph to about 20 or so. Well most people do, but not the overseas tourist who came across one of these DIP signs at night while travelling at full speed, and dutifully dipped his headlights. He got his car nicely airborne, and rearranged the front end on the concrete on the other side.

To The Griff, glad you’re ok. A scare or two when you first start driving can be a good thing.