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May 22, 2015
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Will it ever stop raining? Recently, this question comes to mind when we look at the weekly weather forecast or scurry to the vehicle in an attempt to avoid getting soaked. Rainy weather should also lead us to question our driving practices and vehicle’s tire condition; specifically, regarding hydroplaning.
The term hydroplaning is commonly used to refer to the skidding or sliding of a vehicle’s tires across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can channel away to maintain traction. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control.
Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the vehicles in front of you. This allows you to drive on strips of road where the amount of road water has already been dispersed by the previous vehicle, which means less water for your tires to navigate. However, make sure to keep a safe following distance.
Despite all that, at some point you may find your vehicle is hydroplaning. The appropriate reaction in a moment like this can be the difference between recovery and further loss of control. The best reaction is to not overreact - ease off the gas, and steer and brake gently. If you panic and brake hard or try to speed up, you risk making the skid or slide worse.