Avoiding And Overcoming Vehicular Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is a dangerous and frightening situation in which a vehicle gets away from the control of its driver. However, there are certain things drivers can do when confronting a hydroplaning event that may allow them regain at least partial control and prevent an accident.
The Mechanics Of Hydroplaning
The presence of water under a moving vehicle can cause one or more of its tires to lose contact with the pavement. This condition results in hydroplaning. It is easy to panic under the circumstances, but doing such irrational things as slamming on the brakes or harshly turning the steering wheel can make the situation worse. The actual control loss may last only one or two seconds, and waiting that period of time until the wheels regain traction with the pavement can in such cases be the best course of action.
In the event that the hydroplaning does not end on its own, the driver can try to regain control by steering the vehicle into the direction of its original course. Excessive braking or acceleration can aggravate the condition, but letting up on the accelerator pedal and then gently increasing power once the sliding has stopped may allow the driver to regain full control. Newer vehicles usually have braking systems that are designed to automatically deal with excessive skidding, but drivers need to be prepared for the way their pedals function in the event of a hydroplaning event.
Preventing A Hydroplaning Event
Tires that are worn will lose traction at lower speeds, thus increasing the probability of hydroplaning. The regular rotation of tires, which involves moving them to different wheels, can reduce wear. Another way to both increase their longevity and reduce their propensity to slide is to make sure that tires remain properly inflated.
In terms of motoring habits, it is wise for drivers to stay below the posted speed limit in rainy conditions and to watch for and avoid standing puddles of water. Additionally, those driving in wet conditions should avoid using their cruise control systems and should consider shifting into lower gears to increase traction.
The first rain of the day or of the season will actually lift oil and other substances from the pavement and make the road extra slippery, which is why drivers should exert caution even if the precipitation is not heavy. Rain increases the risk of an accident for reasons other than hydroplaning, which is why driving in rain should be avoided unless it is necessary.