How to Avoid Hydroplaning

Spring is here and you know what that means…rain. Rain can be great for the garden, but not so much for the roads. With all the extra water on the road, we want to give you some safety tips on how to stay safe and avoid hydroplaning.

 

What is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning happens when there a layer of water builds up between the wheels of your vehicle and the surface of the road. When that happens, the wheels of your vehicle lose traction. Because of this, your vehicle may glide, and it will become hard to maneuver it. Sometimes, you may experience a complete loss of control of your car.

 

Tips on Driving in the Rain

  • Avoid puddles. The best way to avoid hydroplaning is to avoid puddles. Not only do you not know how deep the puddles can be, but the water build-up is what causes skidding. If you can safely maneuver around standing water, it can help you stay safe.
  • Don’t use cruise control. Cruise control is great for long road trips, but not so great in the rain. If you’re using cruise control in the rain, you run the risk of not being able to slow down to brace your car if you hit water and lose traction.
  • Follow the car in front of you. If you happen to be behind another car in the rain, try to stay there and drive in their tire tracks. The car in front of you will have displaced the water on the road and you’ll be able to safely follow their trail.
  • Make sure your tires are in good condition. Having good tread on your tires will help you make sure you have better traction on the road.
  • Avoid sudden movements. Whether it’s a sharp turn, a sudden lane change, slamming on your breaks, or so on, sudden movements on slick pavement can cause your car to hydroplane. Give yourself plenty of time to slow down to make a turn and avoid switching lanes if possible.
  • Slow down. Along with avoiding sudden movements, it’s best to slow down. Rain can obscure your vision and reduce traction on the road. Slowing down can help you maintain as much control as possible.
  • Take a break. Driving in the rain can be hazardous at times. If you don’t feel it’s safe to continue, find a safe spot to pull off to the side. Make sure you use your turn signals and hazards. If possible, find a parking lot instead of stopping on the shoulder.

 

If You Hydroplane

If you do find that you’re losing control on the road, it’s important to stay calm. The worst thing you can do when you hydroplane is panic. The first thing you need to do is slow down. But do this by taking your foot off the gas. Do not slam on the brakes! This will cause you to further lose control. If you were braking when you started to lose control, just ease up on the brake until it’s over. The average hydroplaning incident only lasts a split-second. So, while it may be scary, it’s best to ride it out.

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