What Do You Do When Your Car Starts Hydroplaning?

December 2nd, 2021 by

Imagine this, the highway is rain-soaked and full of puddles when suddenly the car begins to swerve, then skid. Your car is in motion of hydroplaning. 

Hydroplaning can happen at almost any speed, but it is far more likely to happen at high speeds. Invariably, hydroplaning catches drivers by surprise. Inexplicably, the car begins to skid although you haven’t swerved, haven’t braked, haven’t changed lanes, or drastically changed your speed.

Yet now you are in a skid you can’t seem to correct. Steering in the direction of the skid (as most driving experts advise) doesn’t correct the skid or restore your control. Neither does any other quick maneuver.

If you could see beneath the tires, you’d understand what is wrong. The tires aren’t gripping the pavement. They aren’t even in contact with the roadway. Or, if they are, their contact is intermittent. They are riding on a thin layer of water much as a hydroplane boat rides on water. This explains why steering won’t correct the skid. 

Hydroplaning is different from ordinary skidding. At high speed on a wet or oily road you may hydroplane and not know it until you attempt to slow down, turn, or move to pass or if you get hit by a gust of wind.

What does it mean to hydroplane?

Hydroplaning is usually caused by worn, all-but-treadless tires, especially front tires (although it can happen with new tires as well). If you examine a new tire, you’ll see that it is designed with deep channels meant to provide an escape route for water trapped beneath the tire. When treads are badly worn, water can build up beneath the tires (with no way to escape) and literally lift them off the driving surface, if only a fraction of an inch. Without contact with the road, the car goes out of control. (To prevent hydroplaning in wet weather, tire treads should be at least one-sixteenth of an inch deep and the tires inflated to near maximum pressure. For most tires, that is 32 to 36 pounds per square inch).

Steps to take if you do end up hydroplaning:

1)   Take your foot off the gas pedal. Don’t break. Let the car slow down gradually.

2)   Steer straight; no matter what direction the car is momentarily skidding.

3)   Hold the steering wheel firmly, anticipating the moment when the tires will grip the pavement again. When that happens, the car is apt to swerve. 

4)   With the car no longer hydroplaning, reduce your speed. Drive slowly to a service station for a look at your tires. Chances are the tires are badly worn. You’ll probably need at least two new tires.

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You can get your car serviced at Rick Case Maserati located in 3500 Weston Road Davie, FL 33331, by setting up an appointment online here or call (954) 621-1267.
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Source: blog

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