How to handle your vehicle when hydroplaning

  • Oct 16, 2020
  • Resources & Tips

The rainy season is coming just around the corner, it’s time to prepare for the different driving conditions. When the roads get slippery it can make driving a little scary, but we’ve got you covered. Hydroplaning is no fun, your car is actually surfing on a self-made wave of water causing it to lose traction on the road, freaky right? If you know the warning signs to look for and you know how to handle your car when it starts hydroplaning you’ll be driving into fall ready to take it head-on safely.

  1. Ensure your tires have enough tread! Worn down tires are a sure way to start hydroplaning on wet roads. Having good tread on your vehicles is the best way to prevent hydroplaning from happening to you. The purpose of tread is to allow you to grip on to the road, tread breaks up the water so you never develop that wave in front of your tires. If you’re not sure if you have enough tread, look at your tires, you should have a minimum tread depth of 1/16 of an inch or enough to come up to Lincoln’s head on a penny.
  2. When in doubt, slow down. Driving under 30 miles per hour is the safest on very wet roads. Avoid turning sharply or breaking quickly. You’re always best to drive well behind the vehicle in front of you, but ensure you give yourself plenty of space especially when road conditions are less than optimal. And remember to drive how you feel comfortable and in a safe manner. Driving the speed limit or slightly below is always the best choice.
  3. Drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. When tires pass through water it disperses the water away from the tracks, and it takes a while for those tracks to fill back in with water. That means there is actually less water on the road in the tracks from the car in front of you, making it less likely for you to hydroplane.
  4. Avoid deep puddles on the road or slow down when passing through them. Hydroplaning occurs much quicker when you’re in deep water, so drive carefully when you see large puddles coming up.
  5. If you do find yourself hydroplaning don’t panic, sharp turning or slamming on the breaks is the worst thing you can do in that situation. Simply take your foot off the gas and keep your car straight or turn your wheel carefully in the direction you’re sliding. When you feel your car regain traction with the road you can then apply the breaks. 

If your tires need to be changed or you’re looking to give your car a check up before the weather gets cold and wet, come into Warrenton Auto. You can call and book an appointment with us today at (540) 347-7978.