When your vehicle hydroplanes, you lose the ability to gain traction, steer effectively and brake. This makes hydroplaning one of the most dangerous driving conditions.
This begs the question, how do I prevent hydroplaning when driving? The key is to have a plan ahead of time and to prepare your vehicle to operate effectively in slippery conditions. Well before rainy conditions arrive, you should:
- Check your tires and wiper blades. Your tires are your first line of defense against hydroplaning because they clear water away from the road, which allows you to maintain traction. Make sure your tires are ready for the task by ensuring they are properly inflated. Also go a step further and inspect your tires. Rotate or replace any tires that are showing significant tread wear.
Finally, replace any wiper blades the make noises or leave streaks on your windshield. New wiper blades are much cheaper than repairing your car after an accident.
- Know the roads. You may not know exactly where water has collected on the roads, but certain safety rules generally apply. You are safer driving in interior lanes as opposed to exterior lanes. This is because water drains to the outer lanes before it runs onto the shoulder. You should also avoid any standing puddles—going through them only exposes your vehicle to unnecessary risk.
- Drive smart. Safe driving during wet conditions is as much about the outside weather as it is about how you handle your vehicle. When you head out on wet roads, slow down to give your tires a chance to scatter water.
Also avoid sharp turns or hard stops, which put a burden on your tires. Remember to turn off your cruise control for the entire trip, even if it is a long drive. This will prevent your vehicle from maintaining the desired speed, which is dangerous if your car hydroplanes.
Next, learn some tips on how to drive when heavy rains pour down.