It’s the Rainy Season. Hydroplaning 101
Losing control of your car while sliding down the road is terrifying. It happens when the tires on your car begin to ride on top of standing water instead of the actual road. This can happen when the road is soaked, or even just slightly wet. Hydroplaning is a very real possibility and should be avoided at all times.
How Can You Prevent Hydroplaning?
REDUCE YOUR SPEED
Most automobile safety experts agree that hydroplaning is most likely to occur at speeds greater than thirty-five miles per hour. As soon as the first drops hit your windshield, slow your speed considerably. It is best to drive five to ten miles slower than the speed limit, even slower in heavy rain or windy conditions. Sudden increases in speed, such as those required to pass, put you at a greater danger of hydroplaning. Avoid sudden accelerations at all costs.
PROPERLY AND REGULARLY ROTATE YOUR TIRES
Keeping your tires in tune will also help prevent your car from hydroplaning on wet roads. It is advisable to have your vehicle’s tires rotated and balanced every other time you have your oil changed, approximately every seven to ten thousand miles.
CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY TIRES DESIGNED TO PREVENT HYDROPLANING
This is particularly important for drivers who live in areas of the country with frequent rainfall. Replace your tires regularly. Driving on slick or bald tires can be detrimental on wet roadways.
NO CRUISING IN THE RAIN
Never use your vehicle’s cruise control function while it is raining or while driving on wet roads. If you were to begin hydroplaning while driving with the cruise control on, it will take additional time for you to disable the function before beginning to regain control of your vehicle.
AVOID PUDDLES AND STANDING WATER
Try to avoid any place on the roadway that you can see has collected water. It only takes a small film of water to cause hydroplaning. If you can actually see standing water, it is highly probable that your vehicle will hydroplane as it drives over it.
How To Recover From Hydroplaning?
Immediately take your foot off of the accelerator. Never use your brakes to respond to hydroplaning. Sudden braking on a wet roadway can cause your car to skid completely out of control.
Although it may seem contradictory, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction your car is hydroplaning. This will help your tires realign with the direction your vehicle is travelling and assist you in regaining steering control.
Wait to feel the tires reconnect with the surface of the road. It will be obvious to the driver when the vehicle has driven out of the hydroplaning situation.
After successfully recovering from hydroplaning on a wet road, you may need to pull over and take a few moments to recover and calm down from this terrifying event. Remember that hydroplaning can happen in an instant. Following the above tips can save you and your car should you begin to lose control. Stay calm and drive yourself out.