Spring is here and while we say goodbye to icy roads and snow hazards, we are welcoming wet roads and hydroplaning. Hydroplaning? Oh, it’s just the term to describe when you “slip” on a puddle on the road. You know, when you seem to lose control for a few seconds while your whole life flashes before your eyes. While a second or two of hydroplaning at slow speeds can be surprising, it can be quite an experience when it happens at faster speeds.
But what exactly happens when you hydroplane? How do you regain control and save yourself while you hydroplane and how do you lessen chances of your car hydroplaning? Let’s answer each question one by one with this article. We believe all these things are important, especially the tips on what to do when you hydroplane. Let’s start.
What Happens When You Hydroplane
Normally, your car runs when your car tires propel your car forward by pushing on a solid and stationary plane which is usually the road. The constant push of the tire keeps us running. It’s the same way when we run, our feet pushes on the floor or road and propels us forward.
But have you seen one of those cartoon skits where the protagonist places a piece of banana peel on the floor and the poor antagonist steps on it while running and he/she slips?
It’s basically the same thing when you hydroplane. Water gets between your tires and the road and your tire can’t get enough traction to “push” your car forward so you lose control. Going at a faster speed only makes the situation worse.
Normally, small puddles of water won’t pose a problem to your car. However, when the tread of your car is thin then water can’t escape as fast and gets forced down instead of out. This is why checking your tire treads is always recommended by car mechanics.
What To Do When You Hydroplane
No control, fast speed. It’s easy to panic in such a situation. However, a stable presence of mind is necessary to save yourself when you hydroplane. So don’t panic.
The first thing you need to do is to stop yourself from hitting the brakes. When you hit the brakes, you are prone to spin out because you don’t have control on your front tires and the rear tires are now locked up. This also means you should not accelerate right away because nobody wants to go 60 to 120 with zero control over the front tires, right?
The next thing to do is to look for an open space. Maybe the shoulder? A drier part of the road? Find an open space and focus on that. Now, you can do one of two things depending on the car you have.
If you own a car with front-wheel drive, all wheel drive, or a car with ABS or traction control then accelerate slowly while steering towards the open space. The ABS or traction control can help you manage to wrestle control of your car while you hydroplane so it becomes easier for you.
However, if you own a car that has rear wheel drive with no ABS or traction control, don’t hit the accelerator and just steer the car towards the open space. You are practically at the mercy of physics here so don’t exacerbate the situation by accelerating or hitting the brakes.
How Not To Hydroplane
Hydroplaning is not a good experience. You may feel like you are part of the cast of The Fast and Furious but it can get pretty traumatic.
In this case, prevention is always better than cure. So let’s try to find out how we can prevent our cars from hydroplaning.
First off, make sure your tires are properly inflated and make sure they have proper tread depth. Your tire’s tread can spell the difference between hydroplaning and a safe drive.
Next, don’t use cruise control during wet conditions. Most cruise control setups are only good on optimal conditions and they don’t know how to adapt when your car hydroplanes.
Lastly, try to drive slower when it’s wet outside. Like what was mentioned above, hitting a wet patch at 30 miles an hour is much better than when you are going 90.
Car Maintenance at T3 Atlanta
Here in T3 Atlanta, we care about all our clients. That’s why we do our best to be thorough in all our checks. We also recommend constant checks on tire tread to lessen chances of accidents happening. If you want to know if your car is safe to drive during the wet season, visit us and let our experts check your car and give you pointers.