How to Avoid Hydroplaning This Spring and What to Do if it Happens

How to Avoid Hydroplaning This Spring and What to Do if it Happens

Once Spring has arrived, many drivers think that the worst road conditions are behind them.

It’s true that the snow and ice are tapering off and the sun is out more, but that doesn’t mean that drivers can abandon caution.

That wet weather that April brings can pose a different risk for drivers: hydroplaning.  Even the most cautious driver can run into an especially slick stretch of road and end up hydroplaning.  Understanding exactly what hydroplaning is and what to do if your car hydroplanes can help keep you safe on the roads this spring.

What is Exactly is Hydroplaning and What Causes it?

Hydroplaning is when your car slips and skids uncontrollably on a wet road.  This occurs when your tires push water out of the way and a thin layer of water forms between your tires and the road.  This happens because there’s too much water for your tires to handle or because the water has mixed with oil residue on the road.

What You Can Do to Avoid Hydroplaning

It’s unlikely that you can avoid driving altogether during heavy rain. Here are some ways to avoid hydroplaning and keep you and your family safe on the roads in wet weather conditions:

Slow down. In wet weather conditions, make sure that you drive at or below the speed limit to maintain control of your vehicle.

Keep up with Tire Maintenance. Make sure that your tires are always inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  It’s also important to make sure that your tires are rotated regularly and changed as needed.

Avoid Outer Lanes and Driving Through Puddles. Avoid driving in the outer lanes that tend to have more puddles. Not only can driving through puddles cause hydroplaning but depending on the depth of the water it can also cause mechanical issues with your vehicle.

What to Do if Your Vehicle Hydroplanes

If you do find yourself in a situation where your vehicle is hydroplaning, these tips can help you maintain control of your vehicle.

Don’t slam on the breaks or oversteer. Using jerky movements can make sliding from hydroplaning worse.  Instead, remove your feet from the accelerator and keep your feet off both pedals.

Wait for sliding to End. Hydroplaning typically only lasts a few seconds so it’s best to wait for the sliding to end before making any corrective actions.

Once the sliding has ended, gently accelerate or break. Once the sliding has ended, you can gently accelerate or slowly use your breaks.  Carefully steer your vehicle back in the direction it was headed.

While we can’t avoid the wet weather conditions, we can do our best to avoid hydroplaning or safely guide our cars through it.

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