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Dealing With The Danger Of Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning (a.k.a. aquaplaning) is a very real danger that all drivers must deal with at some point or other. Hydroplaning is not a rare phenomenon that only affects a few people each year, instead it is something that most drivers encounter to some degree at some time or other. Knowing how to deal with hydroplaning effectively can save your life. You should know about the different conditions that can contribute to it, good strategies for dealing with it, and the best kind of tires to prevent hydroplaning.

Understanding Hydroplaning

Although some people seem to think it is mysterious, hydroplaning is not at all difficult to understand – it only requires a little knowledge of physics.

When a car encounters a wet surface and loses contact with the pavement and skids on the water covering the pavement, this is called hydroplaning. It can occur with all the tires of a vehicle or only some of them, it depends on the nature of the vehicle, the road conditions, and the kind of tires the vehicle has. Hydroplaning is most dangerous if it occurs with all of the tires of the vehicle, but it is still quite dangerous even if it occurs with only one of the tires of a vehicle.

Four Factors that Contribute to Hydroplaning:

Wet Roads

Wet roads are the biggest contributor to hydroplaning. If you are driving on a dry surface, by definition, you cannot hydroplane; it is only possible on a wet surface.
The depth of the water on the road makes a difference. The deeper the water, the more likely it is that the vehicle will hydroplane. You should be extremely cautious about driving on roads that are covered by deep water. If you find yourself driving along a road covered by deep water, you might even want to consider pulling over and seeing if you can find some help. Driving in deep water can be extremely dangerous.

Under-inflated Tires

A lot of drivers make the mistake of under-inflating their tires. This is an easy mistake to make because it isn’t always obvious whether or not your tires are under-inflated. Unless you regularly check your tires, the odds are you will not know if they are under-inflated or not.

Under-inflated tires cause problems with hydroplaning because they do not have as good traction as properly inflated tires. Good traction is key to preventing hydroplaning. If your tires are under-inflated they are less likely to maintain contact with the road’s surface if it is wet. This decreased contact makes your vehicle more susceptible to hydroplaning.

You should check your tires regularly to make sure that they are properly inflated. If you make sure that they are properly inflated, you will decrease your chances of hydroplaning. You will also save money because properly inflated tires need to be replaced less frequently than under-inflated tires.

Bad Driving Habits

How you drive in wet road conditions will affect how likely it is that you will hydroplane. Good driving habits and strategies make it less likely that you will hydroplane in wet conditions than bad driving habits.

The most obvious good driving habit to keep in mind is keeping both your hands on the steering wheel. Despite how obvious this good driving habit is, you would be amazed at the number of people who simply forget to do it.

Part of the problem is the use of cellphones. If you are a heavy cellphone user, it is worth your while to purchase some equipment that will enable you to use your cellphone hands-free while you drive. While the initial cost of this equipment may seem a little high, in the long run it could end up helping to save your life.

Alternatively, you can just decide not to use your cellphone while you drive, or have someone else answer your phone for you while you are driving. This decision will not only help you to remember to keep both hands on the wheel at all times but also help you to improve your concentration on the road.

Another good driving habit you should try to keep in mind is avoiding driving too fast in wet conditions. The speed at which you are driving does influence how likely it is that your vehicle will hydroplane. If you are driving slowly, it is less likely.

Tire Type

The type of tire you have is important in determining how likely it is that you will hydroplane. Choosing good tires can reduce your risk of hydroplaning.

You need tires with a very good tread. The better the tread on your tires, the easier it will be for them to maintain good contact with the road at all times. It is true that they are more expensive than tires with poor tread, but your decision to buy tires with a good tread could turn out to be lifesaving.

You should try to select tires that have nice, noticeable grooves. Grooved tires help to disperse water and considerably reduce your odds of hydroplaning. Make sure your tires have good grooves. Tires without good grooves can prove to be dangerous.

The age of your tires is also important. Replace your tires regularly in order to stay safe. Don’t be tempted to use old tires, even if you think it will help you to save money. In the long run, it can be dangerous.

Hydroplaning is a dangerous phenomenon and it isn’t always easy to avoid it but there is a lot you can do. Avoiding bad road conditions when possible, practising good driving habits, and choosing good tires can go a long way towards helping you to stay safe and help protect both you and your vehicle from suffering any kind of serious damage.


Written on Friday, January 17, 2014 by
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