When we get in the car, rain or shine, as long as traffic is moving, it is easy to allow ourselves to be distracted by the radio, our thoughts, or a conversation. However, it is often in these moments that the conditions on the road change drastically. It is the dangers that we don’t anticipate, like hydroplaning that tend to be the most disastrous.
Hydroplaning occurs when a sheet of water, at least 0.3 centimeters, comes between a vehicle’s tires and the road while traveling at high speeds of at least 50 miles per hour.
When hydroplaning occurs, the tires are not able to connect with the road and move the water out of the way - either from wear or poor drainage off the road - and the vehicle loses traction. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent your car from hydroplaning, but there are things that can decrease the likelihood of hydroplaning and precautions you can take if it does. The attorneys at Hupy and Abraham hope that the following tips will offer some peace-of-mind when driving in April showers.
- Drive slow. If it’s raining, the visibility and conditions are not ideal. Many people seem to think that with cruise control and anti-lock brakes, a little rain is no cause for concern. But hydroplaning usually only occurs when traveling at high speeds. Reducing your speed, especially when there is water collecting on the road, is the easiest way to avoid hydroplaning.
- Watch other vehicles. If they seem to be steering erratically, or the rear of their vehicle appears to be sliding, you may be headed for a dangerous patch. Similarly, if the cars ahead of you appear to be throwing up more water, they may be going through water deep enough to cause your car to hydroplane.
- Don’t panic and over-respond. When you are hydroplaning, your tires are no longer in contact with the road. Attempting to jerk the wheel or brake rapidly will do nothing to slow or stop your vehicle. Take your foot off the gas and straighten the wheels
- Maintain your vehicle. While bald tires may grip dry roads, in the rain, water will act like a lubricant against the rubber of your tires, and a narrower tire is more likely to hydroplane. A heavier vehicle is less likely to hydroplane, but keep in mind that all-wheel drive vehicles are more likely to hydroplane because their computer may shift power from the front to the rear tires while hydroplaning.
So when snow turns to rain, and you begin to prepare your vehicle for the next driving season, remember to make sure you have tires that are sufficient and safe for rain. But, if for any reason you experience a car accident while driving in poor weather conditions, please contact the experienced attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 for a free consultation.