So, you were driving down the highway when all of a sudden you feel your car skip and then you realize you are no longer driving as much as you are … floating? Maybe it last for a second or maybe you’re still continuing down the highway wondering why this is happening. Either way you’ve probably figured out that your vehicle is now hydroplaning.
What is hydroplaning?
The loss of tire traction on the road resulting in the car skidding or gliding over the surface of the water.
When a tire is unable to push out more water than it is encountering it creates a thin layer of water that separates the tire from the road making the vehicle hydroplane, leaving the driver unable to steer, brake, or have control.
When does hydroplaning happen?
Hydroplaning occurs when road surfaces are wet. Driving through heaving rain or standing puddles of water can cause any one or all of your tires to hydroplane but even the lightest rain mixed with oil residue can even be dangerous.
To stay safe during wet weather conditions it is important to reduce speeds so that you can remain in control of your vehicle. Taking proper care of your tires will also help prevent hydroplaning such as rotating tires regularly, keeping tires inflated properly, and replacing old tires once they have worn out their tread life. Like we mention before puddles of standing water can cause your tires to skid so you’ll want to try and avoid those as much as possible so try driving in middle lanes, this will help avoid water that tends to build up on outer lanes. Also, try to avoid using cruise control, maintaining slow speed is ideal but you will want to accelerate and brake gradually.
If you feel your vehicle begin to hydroplane don’t panic, I know it’s easier said than done but just know if you panic and immediately try to slam on your brakes you’ll only be doing yourself harm. Keep both hands on the wheel and slowly turn to into the skid, directing your tires into the direction your car is going in order to straighten out. Getting your vehicle to straighten out can help get your tires turning aga and tires should grip back onto the road soon enough.
What we can control
Always make sure your tires have good tread. The tread on your tires is designed with grooves that channel water out and away from your tires allowing the tires to grip the road. The older your tires get the more shallow the tread becomes, keeping the grooves from doing their job of pushing away water(this will result in hydroplaning). Checking your tire pressure and replacing old tires will help with reducing risk of hydroplaning, a scary situation no one wants to be in.
As always, get all your wheel and tire needs right here at The Wheel and Tire Store! Email or call us with any questions you have!