Hydroplaning—What Causes It and How to Prevent It

While hydroplaning sounds like a cool term for airplanes taking off from the water, it has nothing to do with that. Hydroplaning is a term used for when a vehicle’s tires lose their grip on a wet surface due to a film of water sitting on the road. This causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle and be at the mercy of the car. As you might have guessed, this can be a disastrous situation to be in, especially at high speeds. 

Today, we want to delve deeper into hydroplaning, talking about the causes of hydroplaning and what you can do to prevent it:

The Causes of Hydroplaning

Typically, there are four causes of hydroplaning: road conditions, vehicle speed, tread depth, and vehicle weight.

When it comes to road conditions, any surface that has a water depth of more than one-tenth of an inch increases the risk of hydroplaning. Such conditions can be created by the intensity of the rain, the drainage status, the type of surface being driven on, and the like. Regardless, the deeper the depth, the higher the risk of hydroplaning. With vehicle speed, the faster the drive, the less time water can be driven out from under the tire to keep the rubber in contact with the surface. This also depends on the tire’s tread depth, but sometimes, hydroplaning can occur even at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour. Finally, the lighter the vehicle, the likelier the hydroplaning. Heavy vehicles have more force to displace water from underneath the tire, while light vehicles have a much tougher time doing so.

How to Prevent Hydroplaning

To prevent hydroplaning, there are a few tips you must follow when driving. 

First, when you notice that roads are wet, slow down to around five to ten miles per hour, especially if you see standing water. Remember, hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, so don’t take the risk. 

Second, if you notice standing water, disable cruise control. Drive the car manually to give you maximum control

Third, if you can, simply drive around and stay clear of any puddles or standing water. Driving into one only puts you at risk of hydro planning.

Fourth, if you do catch yourself hydroplaning, remember to not turn the wheels against the way your car is spinning. Instead, turn it with the vehicle. For instance, if your vehicle is spinning right, turn the wheel right. It might sound counterintuitive, but it helps to straighten the vehicle. 

Fifth and finally, inspect the tires once in a while. Ensure that the tread depth is at least 2/32nd of an inch. If it is below that number, then you must replace the wheels.

Conclusion

Hydroplaning is never a fun experience to be in. The car is generally out of your control, and if you still have any, you might be panicking trying to straighten the vehicle out, only making things worst. As such, the best solution to this problem is prevention. Being always attentive to the road and taking precautions to avoid hydroplaning will ensure you do not get into one. However, if you do, stay calm and notice where the car is spinning. Turn the wheel with the car’s spin and try to straighten yourself out. This way, you can snap your vehicle out of hydroplaning, minimizing the risk of accidents and more.

Limitless Tires are a high-volume tire shop in Calgary, offering fast and friendly wheel-related services. If you are looking for wheel inspection services to ensure your wheels are in good condition to prevent hydroplaning, work with us today!

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