How to Prevent Hydroplaning

Anywhere who has ever skidded on snow or ice knows how terrifying it can be to lose control at high speeds. This can happen in the rain as well, with the phenomenon known as hydroplaning. When driving in heavy rain or even on a slick and wet surface, the wheels can lose contact with the road surface, leading to a loss of control of the vehicle. This can be dangerous, but luckily hydroplaning is easy to control with some knowledge and planning.


What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning is also called aquaplaning and happens when a car’s wheels lose contact with the road surface in heavy rain or if the surface is wet and slick. This leaves the wheels driving on moving water and can cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle. While hydroplaning is most likely to occur in heavy rain, when water covers the road surface, it can also happen if the surface is slick or even just slightly damp.


How it happens

Hydroplaning generally happens when a vehicle is traveling at a speed of over 35 miles per hour. Sudden acceleration greatly increases the chances of hydroplaning. This means that drivers should avoid passing in heavy rain. In fact, if it’s raining heavily, it’s ok travel below the speed limit, by five to ten miles per hour. Rain accompanied by wind increases the chances of losing control.


Regaining control of your vehicle

The first step to regain control of the vehicle is to slow down. The biggest don’t in this situation is: don’t hit the brakes. That will cause the vehicle to skid out of control. The best way to slow down is to take your foot off the accelerator and turn the steering in the direction the vehicle is heading. This gives you back control of the vehicle, allowing you to steer it back into the lane. It’s also a good idea to pull over when you can do so safely and give yourself a few minutes to recover from the experience.


Preventative measures

One of the best ways to prevent hydroplaning is to keep your car tires in top condition. Your local auto mechanic can help you do that, or your can visit the Nissan Sentra dealership and service center in Santa Ana. Maintaining correct air pressure and replacing tires when the treads wear out are the best ways of helping them get a good grip on the road in bad weather when the surface becomes slippery. Professionals also recommend not using cruise control in rainy weather. The extra time needed to regain control in that situation would increase the risks.


Hydroplaning can be a terrifying experience, but it can be avoided with a little foreknowledge and planning.

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