It’s summer! The summer season brings heat, but also the potential for rain and heavy thunderstorms. Rain can cause accidents, even for experienced drivers. One of the main rain related dangers is Hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when the tires of your car begin to ride on top of standing water, instead of the surface of the road. Hydroplaning can make you lose control of your car and cause an accident. This experience can occur when roads are wet, or even slightly damp. Read on for four tips on how to prevent hydroplaning. Knowing what to do in a scary situation will save your life, your car, and others around you.
How to Avoid Hydroplaning:
- Cruise Control: Do NOT use cruise control in the rain or on wet surfaces. If you start to hydroplane and the cruise control is on, you have to disengage the function in order to gain control of your car. The function will not be easy to turn off while you are hydroplaning, and could result in more skidding and swerving. Further, if the cruise control is on, the car will recognize the build up of water, shift the car to a lower gear, and cause even more water to build up under the tires, prolonging the hydroplaning event.
- Tires: Make sure your car is properly serviced. Have your car wheels rotated and balanced, approximately every seven to ten thousand miles. Replace your tires regularly, too. Driving on slick or bald tires will cause problems on wet roads.
- No speeding! Hydroplaning can occur at any speed that exceeds 35 miles per hour. It is advisable to drive five to ten miles slower than the speed limit in heavy rain or wind. Abrupt changes in speed can increase your risk of hydroplaning.
- Avoid Puddles: In this instance, water is not your best friend. Try to contain the urge to splash through puddles! It only takes a small amount of water on the road to hydroplane.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration