Most motorists don’t think twice when they encounter a little rain on the roadways. However, if you’ve ever felt your car lose control for a split second or longer while driving on a wet road, you know just how dangerous rainfall can be to vehicles. Hydroplaning refers to the phenomenon of a vehicle’s tires losing traction with the road due to wetness and cause it to skid across the surface.
Losing control of your vehicle on the road could potentially be deadly to you or other drivers if you don’t know how to respond when it happens. You can do your best to drive cautiously the next time it’s raining, but sometimes even the best drivers can’t always avoid hydroplaning.
When to watch out for hydroplaning
It probably won’t surprise you that your likelihood of getting into a car accident increases when there’s inclement weather like heavy rain, snowfall, fog or sleet. But while you might expect reduced visibility to be the culprit behind these accidents, the truth is it’s usually the slippery conditions that cause drivers to crash.
Even in light rain, when the moisture combines with oil residue from cars on the road’s surface, it can create conditions perfect for hydroplaning. While the tread on a vehicle’s tires is designed to disperse water from beneath the tire, hydroplaning can occur on virtually any wet surface. To avoid hydroplaning in wet conditions, drivers should:
- Drive slower when roads are wet
- Stay away from standing water or puddles
- Drive in the tire tracks of the car in front of you
- Turn off cruise control
- Don’t slam on your brakes or make sharp turns
- Keep your tires properly inflated
What to do if your vehicle hydroplanes
If you find yourself amid those nerve-wracking moments where you feel your tires lose traction with the road, here’s how you can regain control and stay safe:
- Stay calm and ease off the gas pedal
- Hold your steering wheel firmly
- Gently press down on your brakes
When you feel your car’s tires make contact with the pavement again, you can resume driving normally. By adhering to these tips, you can ensure you know exactly what to do the next time slippery roads put you at risk of an accident.