Everything about Hydroplaning: From Definition to Prevention

Did you know that about 2 out of every 3 fatalities related to motor vehicles are caused by either hydroplaning or tire blowouts? Hydroplaning occurs when water pressure builds between the tire and the road surface, creating a temporary cushion of water. The tire “floats” on this cushion, separated from the road surface. This is typically an experience associated with driving in heavy rains or in areas frequented by puddles in the road or car wash bay areas.

How Dangerous Is It?

Hydroplaning is dangerous because it can cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle, leading to a crash. A considerable percentage of weather-related vehicle collisions in the US happen in wet road conditions. Therefore, knowing what to do when this happens is crucial. 

What to Do if Your Vehicle Is Hydroplaning?

There are things you can do when your car is hydroplaning. The first thing is to keep a clear head and not panic. Avoid slamming on the brakes but instead, take your foot off the accelerator for the car to slow down. In case your vehicle comes with anti-lock brakes, you can lightly apply the brakes for your tires to regain traction. 

Another thing you should do is to keep the steering wheel steady. When a car is hydroplaning, it may be challenging to take control of the steering wheel. However, it’s crucial you keep it steady to help your vehicle not lose any more traction and spin out of control. 

Finally, never go for a complete stop when you gain control of the vehicle. If you need a few moments, pull safely onto the shoulder or off the road. 

How Can You Prevent It? 

You can prevent hydroplaning with a few things. The first and most important thing to do is to slow down when the roads are wet. It’s best to reduce your speed by 5-10 mph or more. Another thing is not to use cruise control when the roads are wet and use manual control so you can focus on the road. 

Make sure you steer clear of puddles and standing water as well. In case your vehicle slides, the best thing to do is turn the steering wheel toward the direction that you’re sliding instead of the other way around. 

Once a month, make an effort to check your tires to see if the tread depth is at least 2/32nd of an inch; an easy way to do this is to take a penny and place it in the tire’s grooves with the penny’s head facing the base of the groove. If the tread doesn’t cover a part of the head, the tire is at or below the ideal tread depth. 


Hydroplaning happens a lot. Every vehicle driver needs to educate themselves about it, what they can do when the vehicle is hydroplaning, and how to prevent it. It’s also crucial to have proper driver’s education to keep motorists safe on the road, especially when hydroplaning is possible. Finally, the right tires play a significant role here as well. So, make sure you choose high-quality ones that can help keep you safe on the road. 

Limitless Tires offers tire auto repair in Calgary. We are focused on delivering fast and friendly service to our customers. Let us help you make your tires right. Contact us today!

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