What To Do If Your Car Hydroplanes

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Online

While hydroplaning my sound like a fun water sport, it’s actually incredibly dangerous. Essentially, hydroplaning occurs when a car’s tires lose contact with the road; driving a car that is hydroplaning is similar to driving on ice. These three factors contribute to hydroplaning:

1.      Speed. The faster you drive in wet conditions, the more likely it is that your car will hydroplane. In wet weather, drive at two-thirds of your normal speed.

2.      Tire condition. Worn tire treads don’t function effectively. Tires with low pressure can also cause hydroplaning. Check your air pressure and tread depth regularly .

3.      Depth of water. Naturally, your car is more likely to hydroplane on deeper water. For this reason, try to avoid puddles whenever possible and be extra careful in very heavy rainfall. An important note: The first rainfall on a dry road will bring the dirt and oil on the road to the surface. This makes more an especially slick—and dangerous—surface.

HOW TO DIAGNOSE HYDROPLANING

When your car begins to hydroplane, you may notice a “loose” feeling as the car loses contact with the road. The steering may also feel loose or too easy. Look behind you (or have a passenger do so for you.) You should be able to see dry “tracks” in the water behind you where your wheels have made contact with the pavement. If there aren’t any tracks, you’re probably hydroplaning.

If your car is hydroplaning , don’t brake or turn suddenly, as this will cause a skid.

For ALL FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CARS and REAR WHEEL DRIVE CARS WITH TRACTION CONTROL AND ABS:

1.      Identify an open space ahead.

2.      Depress the accelerator slightly.

3.      Steer gently in the direction of the open space.

For REAR DRIVE CARS WITHOUT TRACTION CONTROL AND ABS:

1.      Identify an open space ahead.

2.      Ease off the accelerator.

3.      Steer gently in the direction of the open space.

You should regain control of the car shortly.

To read more on a broad range of subjects from “How To Change A Tire” to “How To Jumpstart Your Car”, visit DefensiveDriving.com’s Safe Driver Resources website!

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