Staying safe on the road: Driving in rain and hydroplaning

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Tips & Tricks on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 at 11:43 AM
vehicle driving through a large puddle

What is hydroplaning?

Here in the Midwest, we’re experiencing more than the typical amount of water on the roads. With flooding all over, we’re giving you a few tips for handling driving in water and rain. One major problem that drivers run into when driving in wet conditions is hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is when your vehicle’s tire or tires skid or slide across a wet surface, causing the driver to temporarily lose control of the vehicle. It’s caused by your wheel driving through more water than it can scatter, which leads to water under the wheel separating it from the road, taking away its traction. When this happens, the driver briefly is unable to control the steering, braking and power of the vehicle.

Hydroplaning usually happens in a matter of seconds or less, but in many cases, that’s all it takes in order for an accident to occur. To reduce the risk of hydroplaning and improve traction, tires feature grooves and treads designed to channel the water under the tire. Despite this, it’s still possible to hydroplane, however it is less likely than with a flat tire.

[Read more: Benefits of Snow Tires]

When does hydroplaning happen?

While hydroplaning can occur on just about any wet surface, it’s most likely to happen in the first 10 minutes of rain, when the water combines with any oil residue on the road, causing a slicker driving surface. Hydroplaning is also most common when driving fast, particularly at speeds above 35 mph.

view out a windshield during rainNot only does hydroplaning put drivers and passengers at risk, but other drivers and pedestrians as well. That’s why it’s important that drivers understand ways of avoiding hydroplaning. Take a look below to learn more about reducing the risk of hydroplaning.

  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Avoid the outer lanes where water usually accumulates
  • Drive in tire tracks left by the vehicle ahead of you
  • Keep your tires inflated properly
  • Avoid driving through puddles and standing water
  • Drive in a lower gear
  • Avoid braking hard
  • Slow down when the roads are wet
  • Don’t take turns sharply or quickly

[Read more: Dashboard Warning Lights explained]

While hydroplaning is a common problem during rainy and flooded weather, we hope that these tips and tricks help you avoid running into it. For more tips for staying safe behind the wheel, take a look at the rest of the Continental Honda Blog.

Leave a Reply