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How To Prevent Hydroplaning

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

Any driver who has hydroplaned on a wet road will report that it is a terrifying experience. Hydroplaning occurs when there is moisture on the road surface and a vehicle is traveling too fast for the tires to stay in contact with the road. Instead, the tires glide across the top of the water, losing traction and causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Tire treads cannot grip water, and hydroplaning can easily send a vehicle spinning out of a lane.

It’s essential for all drivers to recognize the dangers of hydroplaning and to know how to identify the highest-risk areas for hydroplaning. It doesn’t need to be pouring rain for hydroplaning to occur. A vehicle could hydroplane on even a tiny amount of water depending on speed. Drivers should also know what to do when hydroplaning happens, as panicking or overcorrecting can lead to disastrous consequences.

Preventing Hydroplaning:

The best way to handle hydroplaning is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

  • Hydroplaning is more likely to occur at higher speeds, so drivers on highways and rural roads with speed limits greater than 35 mph should use extra caution in wet weather.

  • Keep acceleration gradual while driving in the rain and allow for a reasonable amount of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

  • The risk of hydroplaning is greatest during the first few minutes after it starts raining, because the sudden presence of moisture on the road draws oil residue in the road to the surface.

  • Vehicle owners should also regularly check their vehicles’ tires. Worn out tires lose tread depth, making is easier for them to glide on ponding water.

  • Tires also need the appropriate amount of pressure to ensure good contact with the road.

  • Tire rotation also helps preserve the quality of a vehicle’s tires by evenly distributing tread wear across all four tires.

If you happen to get into an accident because of hydroplaning, having a record that you carefully kept track of your vehicle maintenance and tire health may help you avoid some measure of liability.

When Hydroplaning Happens:

In the event your vehicle starts hydroplaning, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Panicking will only cause you to further lose control of the vehicle and increase the likelihood of an accident. Most people who suffer serious injuries and other damages in single-vehicle hydroplaning accidents do so because they overreact to the situation.

When a vehicle’s tires are gliding on water, a sudden turn of the steering wheel can cause the vehicle to fishtail or send the vehicle spinning down the road. Ease gently off the accelerator to allow the tires to regain contact with the road surface. If you are braking, ease off the brake pedal to allow the tires to gain more traction. If the car turns out of control, it’s important to correctively steer back into a safe direction while refraining from oversteering or panicking and quickly spinning the steering wheel. Gentle steering motions as your car decelerates will help you regain control of the vehicle.

If you sustain injuries or other damages due to a hydroplaning driver, or your vehicle hydroplanes and causes a car accident, it’s wise to connect with a reliable attorney as soon as possible. If another driver caused your accident by driving too fast in wet weather, failing to perform required vehicle maintenance, or aggressive driving, an attorney can help you build a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Kaufman Law with any questions concerning a potential case.

For more tips on driving in the rain, click here.


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