Drivers know to use caution during inclement weather, but did you know the first 10 minutes of rain can be the most dangerous for drivers? Most drivers might assume that snow and ice would be more dangerous; however, more accidents occur in light rainfall than in snow and ice. When it starts to rain, oil, dirt, and other residues on the road mix with rain to create a slick and invisible surface. Even the slightest amount of rain can cause slippery surfaces which is why drivers need to be on high alert during rain. Hydroplaning can occur in the smallest amount of rain, and any experienced driver will tell you that hydroplaning is dangerous and scary. Continue reading to find out precisely what is hydroplaning, and hopefully some tips to avoid it.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is when there is a layer of water between your tires and the road. Your tires are now floating on top of the water, and you have no control of your car. This can occur in just as little as a twelfth of an inch of water at speeds above 35 mph.
Hydroplaning happens because water builds up in front of your tires faster than your car’s weight can push it out of the way. The result is like what waterskiers experience on the lake – riding on top of the water. This is great for the recreational waterskier, but this is not what drivers on the road would like to be experiencing.
You can now answer the question, what is hydroplaning, so is there anything you can do to minimize your chances of hydroplaning? In short, yes if you follow these tips:
- Do not slam on breaks – break early and slowly while applying steady but firm pressure
- Keep tires properly inflated
- Rotate tires/ replace old tires
- The deep grooves in the tires help channel water through which gives your tires a better chance to grip the pavement and have traction meaning the risk of hydroplaning is less
- Slow to 35mph or slower when it starts to rain
- Avoid puddles and other accumulated water
- Turn off cruise control
- Ease into sharp turns
Of course hydroplaning can occur even if you do follow the above tips, so what should you do if you find yourself in that scary situation?
You Are Hydroplaning, Now What?
Those who have experienced hydroplaning will tell you it feels like you’re floating, but it’s terrifying knowing you are no longer in control of your car.
As with any unnerving situation, it’s best to stay calm. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s important to stay rational in times of emergency.
If you do find yourself hydroplaning, do not slam on your breaks, keep your hands steady on the wheel and focus on regaining control of your car. Take a few moments to pull over to the side of the road and take a breather to calm down before you continue on your way.
You can take all the necessary precautions and be a cautious driver, and yet accidents still happen. If you find yourself in need of roadside assistance or towing, Epolito’s is your local 24/7 towing company so give us a call, and we will gladly help.