You're driving during a storm or on a wet street. You don't notice initially, but suddenly you feel the vehicle is skidding to the side. This called hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is one of the most common types of incidents in wet conditions. The term itself refers to the process of sliding or skidding as the tires cross a wet surface.
Why Does Hydroplaning Happen?
When driving through a puddle, your tires continue to make contact with the ground even through the water. The water usually splashes to the side and scatters. When hydroplaning occurs, the tire encounters more water than it can safely scatter to the side. This allows for water pressure located at the front of the wheel to push under the tire. This creates a break between the contact of the tire and the ground. This very thin amount of water located between the tire and the roadway creates a traction problem. As a result, when you hit the brakes, turn the wheel, or even accelerate, you go nowhere for a split second. This is called hydroplaning.
It can occur for many reasons. It is most common during the first 10 minutes or so after a light rain, when rain and oil residue mix, or when you are traveling at a speed higher than 35 miles per hour.
What Can You Do to Be Safe?
In many cases, hydroplaning is hard, if not impossible to avoid. You can prevent it from occurring by keeping your tires properly inflated and rotated to minimize uneven wear and tear. Try to avoid going through puddles or standing water and drive in the inner lanes on roadways to avoid ponding water along the edges. And, if you have to go through water that is minimally deep, keep cruise control off, avoid hard braking, and drive in a lower gear.
If you do hydroplane and you end up in an accident, make sure your first call is to your auto insurance provider. In most cases, car insurance plans will cover this type of damage because it is unavoidable and sudden. But, just in case, contact your insurer and make sure you have ample auto coverage against the risks associated with hydroplaning.
Stay safe on the road. Call McDonald Insurance Group for more information on Littleton auto insurance.