Hydroplaning can occur on any wet road, but the first 10 minutes when the rain first starts is when you should be on the highest alert. This isn’t to say these tips are not useful for other times it rains, but within the first 10 minutes is the most dangerous.
Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle passes over water on the roadway and the tires lose traction. It can happen at relatively slow speeds and more often at speeds in excess of 35 miler per hour. Roads with poor drainage cause water to pool making those roads much more dangerous than roads with good drainage.
Since water can remain standing, it doesn’t have to be raining to cause your vehicle to hydroplane. You can inadvertently pass over a standing area of water at any time, from rain or other sources. Follow these safety precautions and know what to avoid in order to ensure you arrive to your destination safely.
How to Handle Hydroplaning
Here are some tips that may help you to avoid hydroplaning if you find yourself on the roadways during or immediately after a rainfall event:
- Drive cautiously. Contrary to popular belief, hydroplaning can occur with many types of vehicles at speeds as low as 30mph
- Keep your tires fresh and inflated. Heavily worn tires will have shallower treads on them, and this makes it significantly easier for the vehicle to hydroplane in conditions where it might not with fresh tires. Deflated tires can increase the chance of water interfering with tire traction as well
- Avoid low roadways during or after rainfall. Water is more likely to pool in these areas even after the storm has ended, thus making conditions ripe for the chance to hydroplane your vehicle. If you must pass through low-lying areas, it’s best to assume that water is present and to proceed with extreme caution
By following these simple steps, and by following other basic road safety instructions and remaining aware of your surroundings, you will be much less likely to hydroplane your vehicle in adverse weather conditions.