The rainy season is just around the corner in Dunwoody and we want our customers to be safe. When it rains, drivers are at risk for hydroplaning and skidding, so with the help of SafeMotorist.com, DefensiveDriving.com and Lewis County Driving School, we put together some tips to help you stay on the pavement.
NOTE: As always, we highly recommend you check your owner’s manual for any specific details the manufacturer may provide on road safety.
What is Hydroplaning and What Causes It?
Hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose contact with the road and start “floating” on top of a film of water. It is caused when a tire cannot scatter water away quickly enough to maintain proper contact with the pavement.
Driving through standing water can cause hydroplaning, regardless of the condition of your tires, if you are not driving at a safe speed or if you react badly to road conditions.
Hydroplaning and skidding can also occur in heavy downpours, especially when you are driving on worn tires or have other vehicle maintenance issues such as worn brakes.
Hydroplaning happens most frequently during the summer when roads are hot and oily, and it hasn’t rained for a while.
How do I Prevent My Vehicle from Hydroplaning and Skidding?
Proper maintenance of your vehicle is extremely important in preventing hydroplaning and skidding, especially your brakes and tires. Learning how to respond when driving conditions are dangerous is equally important.
Recommended Vehicle Maintenance
- Keep your tires properly and evenly inflated, rotated and balanced. Preferably, your front and rear tires should be well matched.
- Check your tire tread. When the tread is good, your tires have a better chance of scattering the water and staying on the pavement. If the tread is thin, replace the tires.
- Brakes should be evenly adjusted so that on application of the brakes the vehicle slows down in a straight line. If the brakes pull one way or the other, a skid can easily occur.
- Front wheels being out of alignment also can cause a skid by pulling the vehicle one way or another when the brakes are applied.
- Follow your local weather service and know before you go.
- Give yourself enough drive time to stick to a safe speed during rainfall. Remember, you cannot go strictly by the speed limit in poor driving conditions. Sometimes you just need to slow down.
- Avoid standing water and try to drive through the tire tracks of other drivers.
- Remove all distractions such as mobile phones.
- Turn off your cruise control.
- Avoid sudden steering action when roads are wet and slippery.
- Avoid abrupt or sudden changes in the vehicle’s speed.
- Avoid sudden engagement of the clutch when on a slippery surface.
- Avoid hard braking. Note: ABS braking systems respond differently. Read your owner’s manual carefully for specific instructions.
- Drive in a lower gear on extremely wet pavement.
- Try to avoid the outer lanes where water tends to accumulate.
- Avoid sharp turns and curves when possible.
What Do I Do If My Vehicle Hydroplanes?
- What you should do depends on the type of vehicle you are in. Study your owner’s manual and be prepared.
- Stay calm and wait for the skid to stop.
- Avoid hard braking.
- Ease your foot off the gas.
- See more tips here.