How to Handle Hydroplaning

With the devastating flood resulting from Hurricane Ida rolling through New York, we thought it would be fitting to go over the topic of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when a vehicle's tires start riding on a bed of standing water. When this happens, your car will lose traction as the tires spin on the water rather than making contact with the road. You can lose all control of the vehicle's steering, acceleration, and braking in severe cases. While hydroplaning can be a frightening conflict, there are several things you can do to stop hydroplaning from happening. Here are a few words of advice for preventing and correcting hydroplaning.

Signs That You're Hydroplaning

  • Small turns of the wheel have no effect in the direction of where you are going
  • The engine may make sounds as RPM's increase because of the spinning wheels
  • The steering wheel may start to vibrate as the wheels

How to Prevent Hydroplaning

There are several steps you should take to prevent or minimize the effects of hydroplaning.

  • Slow down - Hydroplaning occurs more often at speeds (>35 mph). 
  • Avoid abrupt braking and sudden accelerations
  • Proper tire maintenance - Tires with uneven tread wear will have a higher chance of hydroplaning than healthy tires. Not only do your tires need enough tread, but they also need to be inflated at the factory recommended pressure.
  • Avoid pools of water (if possible) - Some lanes may have large puddles of rainwater, and you should avoid driving through them if traffic permits. Water also tends to pool in the outer parts of the streets.
  • Purchase tires intended for wet conditions - There are various types of tires on the market, including those fit to handle rain and snow better.

How to Recover From Hydroplaning

If you ever encounter a hydroplaning situation, please proceed to do the following steps:

  • Lower your speed by releasing your foot off the gas pedal  - Please avoid braking as it can cause skidding.
  • Correct your steering (if possible)
  • Pause and wait for tires to make contact with the road
  • In severe circumstances, pull over or exit the highway if you need a moment to destress. 

Hydroplaning can be a frightful experience, but there are ways to make your car safer during rainy weather. Feel free to give us a call or visit Scruggs Automotive for all your automotive servicing needs. Our experienced technicians can help make suggestions and installations for tires that can overcome hydroplaning.