A slick stereotype: L.A. drivers unable to handle the rain

Far removed from the many SigAlerts and traffic accidents caused by the rain, umbrella-toting pedestrians stroll on the Huntington Beach Pier before dawn on Thursday.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

You know what they say: L.A. drivers can’t handle the rain.

Many motorists didn’t disprove the stereotype Thursday as rain slickened roadways and snarled the morning commute. The California Highway Patrol reported more than three times as many accidents (294) between 12:01 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursday than in the same time period a week ago (90), on Thanksgiving.


Although there were some morning crashes that shut down area freeways — including a jackknifed big rig on the 5 Freeway in Glendale and a fatal crash on the 134 in Toluca Lake — CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said most were single-car spinouts.

“People are driving too fast for the roadway,” Jacobs said. “Slow down. It’s really simple. There is no other thing to do.”

Of the many jokes about the storm shared via social media, many focused on traffic.

“Los Angeles + rain = Carmageddon,” @Nick_Favorite wrote.

“The only thing worse than LA drivers? LA drivers in the rain,” @LiliannaEvelyn said.

But drivers, beware. More wet weather is in store for California through the weekend. Forecasters said scattered showers should persist as a series of storms passes through the area, the strongest of which should hit Sunday afternoon and evening.

Jacobs called the number of reported accidents “huge” but said it was typical for a rainy day in Los Angeles.

But is it proof L.A. drivers can’t handle the rain?

“You’ll have to draw your own conclusion on that one,” Jacobs said.