Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of the tires builds up faster than the vehicle’s weight can push out of the way. The water pressure causes the vehicle to rise up and slide in a thin layer of water between the tires and the road. At this point, the vehicle can be completely out of contact with the road, and in danger of skidding or drifting out of the lane.
There are three main factors that contribute to hydroplaning:
· Vehicle speed. As speed increases, wet traction is considerably reduced. Since hydroplaning can result in a complete loss of traction and vehicle control, you should always reduce speed when driving in wet weather.
· Tire tread depth. Maintaining adequate treading on tires and replacing them when necessary can help prevent hydroplaning. Tire experts can measure tread depth with a specially designed tread depth gauge and recommend checking tire treads depth every 2-3 months.
· Water depth. The deeper the water, the sooner you will lose traction, although even thin water layers can cause a loss of traction, including at low speeds.
If you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding:
· Do not brake or turn suddenly;
· Ease your foot off the gas until the vehicle slows and you can feel traction on the road again;
· Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid. As you recover control, gently straighten the wheels; and
· If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping action. Your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally. Because the vehicle’s computer will mimic a pumping action.
“By just slowing down and being a little more cautious, you can prevent a rainy-day accident and keep your rainy-day savings for a better purpose,” said Clark. “But if an accident does occur, just call 724-282-2933 and we’ll help you through the entire process.”