Coming back to Chicago from Cleveland last week, it started raining. At first, this wasn’t anything special as I’ve driven in the rain plenty of times, but then we hit a spot in which it was raining so hard, I lost complete visibility. When the rain first started, I had already slowed down to around 60MPH and kept a distance of over 5 car lengths behind the car in front. We (Ha and I) then hit an area where that car completely disappeared and I could not even see the left (I was in the left-most lane) barrier to the freeway.
This was the scariest time I had ever experienced driving. My heart breaking out, sweat creeping out, I knew I needed to slow down, but I was fearful of the other cars around me. If I couldn’t even see the road or other cars, that would likely mean they couldn’t see me. Thus, it wouldn’t be a good idea to just stop in the middle of the freeway. However, to keep going would risk that I would hit someone else or drive into the barrier. I saw a car in another lane slowing down as I did with its caution blinkers on. I signaled to the right and slowly switched lanes to the right. I wanted to get off the road completely and stop, but I couldn’t even see it. I could only see my neighboring caution car and wanted to go along with him. During this entire time, I was expecting to get hit from behind – it is one thing to see a crash in front of you or have a few seconds of fear. I think this patch of rain was about a minute long, which may sound short, but is intensely terrifying if you are in it. When I finally got to the right most lane and was looking for a way to stop off the road, we passed the rain, and things became more reasonable in terms of visibility.
Since I am from the West Coast, I wonder if this type of rain happens to everyone in the Midwest area from time to time. All the cars involved were very lucky, and I hope no one got hurt. Keep in mind that this was around noontime, during the day. If this had happened at night, I don’t know if there is any way we could have avoided an accident.