By Raiza Giorgi

*Update – All lanes of Highway 101 at Mariposa Reina are open, according to Caltrans.

With the significant amount of rainfall occurring Wednesday into Thursday, several areas of Highway 101 have become impacted by water causing flooding issues. Residents in the Nojoqui area have reported to the Star more than 10 inches of rain since Wednesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol urged that drivers be sure to increase following distance and brake early.

“Before you depart, check that your tires are properly inflated, in good working order, and have enough tread depth,” according to the CHP Santa Barbara Twitter page.

Flooding was reported Thursday morning near Mariposa Reina, just south of the Gaviota tunnel, also near the Pork Palace just south of Buellton. Caltrans has closed Highway 101 north at Mariposa Reina due to flooding, southbound remains open, according to spokesman Jim Shivers.

“There is no estimate for re-opening. Please drive carefully and be aware of Caltrans highway workers, law enforcement and emergency responders,” Shivers said.

There was also an accident with no injuries on the southbound side of Highway 101 at Nojoqui Grade around 9:15 a.m. Thursday, according to CHP Traffic alerts.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department offers the following tips to help keep you and your passengers safe while driving on wet roads: 

  • Know how to recover from a skid. Remember not to slam on the brakes. Apply
    firm, steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid. 
  • Keep your distance from the car ahead. It takes about three times longer to
    break on wet roads than on dry roads. 
  • Turn your headlights on. Not only do they help you see the road, but they’ll help
    other drivers see you. 
  • First rains make the road very slippery. First rains make the roads the most
    difficult to drive on as mud and oil combine with water to form a slippery layer. 
  • Dry your brakes after driving through standing water. If you have driven
    through standing water, apply the brakes lightly for a short time to dry them. 
  • Make sure your wipers are in good condition and functioning properly. California law requires that if you have your wipers on, your vehicle headlights must also be on. 

Taking these simple tips into account can save your life.