While it didn't rain all that hard Thursday, roads were wet enough to tangle up Southern California drivers. "The moment we hear rain, as Highway Patrol officers, we brace for the worst," says CHP Officer Saul Gomez. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2012.
There were five times as many traffic collisions in Los Angeles Thursday morning compared to the same time last week when it wasn’t raining, according to data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
"Very little rain can cause a lot of trouble for us here in Southern California," said CHP Officer Saul Gomez. "The moment we hear rain, as Highway Patrol officers, we brace for the worst."
Between midnight and 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, there were 188 crashes, compared to 36 last Thursday, the data shows.
Thursday's storm was the first of three storm systems that are expected to bring rain to the Southland between now and Monday. LAX reported .32 inches of rain; Ojai received 1.03 inches; and Moorpark gathered .48 inches of rain.
Frustrated drivers took to Twitter to lament about the stereotype that Angelenos lose their ability to operate a vehicle when the roads get wet.
@JoeWilsontv wrote: "watching LA traffic in the rain is like watching children ice skate for the first time"
And Geoff Pilkington tweeted, "everyone in LA sucks at driving in the rain yet somehow they've become experts at driving and texting. Fact."
Despite the chronic uptick in traffic collisions during Southland rain storms, Gomez said Angelenos may not be terrible drivers after all, just misinformed.
"It's not that we're horrible drivers,” he said, “it's we have to respect the rain. We have to slow down. We have to increase following distance and we have to put that cell phone down."