Hydroplaning Hazards: How to Stay Cautious on Wet Roads

In late summer months, the weather can begin to act erratically with heavy downpours when cold air begins to start rolling in. When this occurs, it can be much more difficult to see and a great deal of rain tends to gather on the streets.

The result of heavy rains is sometimes hydroplaning, which takes place due to a combination of standing water, insufficient tire tread, and speed. Hydroplaning is a vehicle’s tires briefly losing grip with the street, which can cause inhibited braking and steering functions.

“Hydroplaning can be frightening, but the hazardous aspect of it is when drivers realize that their vehicle is hydroplaning, they become alarmed and begin to overcorrect. Overcorrecting, especially in standing water, can cause your vehicle to swerve uncontrollably,” stated John Foy, Atlanta car accident lawyer. Wet roads can be intimidating, but the following tips were intended to minimize panic and increase your confidence for the next time you’re faced with standing water on the road.

To stay cautious when hydroplaning, be sure to stay calm first and foremost because hydroplaning is usually over fairly quickly. Never slam on the breaks or make large steering motions. You might need to steer slightly, but only a very small amount. If you had your foot on the gas when the hydroplaning began, slowly take your foot off very carefully. Doing so shifts the weight to the front area of the vehicle, which gives more control to the driver.

The following tips can also help you remain cautious when driving on wet roads:

Watch what the vehicles ahead of you are doing. The vehicles driving ahead of you can give you insight as to what type of state the street ahead of you is in. If their tires are splashing out a great deal of water from underneath, your lane could be slightly lower and may be retaining more water. When this occurs, it might be wise to move to a different lane or to at least slow your speed.

Be sure that there is enough tread remaining on your tires. Contrary to popular belief, tire tread is not for traction but it is intended to push water or snow away from the tires.

Don’t drive too fast. Driving fast makes it more difficult for tires to ward away water. When it’s raining hard and you think you might hydroplane, slow down.

Avoid relying on cruise control when it’s raining. While cruise control can be a huge help when you’re in the middle of a long car ride, it’s not recommended for use during the rain. Speed is a factor in hydroplaning, and it’s important to monitor, adjust, and keep it as slow as necessary.

Regularly have your tires rotated.

Usually, it’s recommended for tire rotation to take place every 5,000 – 7,500 miles driven, but there can be exceptions to this rule. Rotating your tires regularly can extend your tire life and can minimize wear and tear.

Author: Brandon Park