Hydroplane and what to do if it happens

When it rains in Lake Havasu City, AZ there is a significant chance to hydroplane in your car.  Hydroplaning is a loss of traction to the tires.  The lack of traction lifts your car and you’re literally moving forward on top of the water.   It only takes a small fraction of rain to create the conditions for hydroplaning, and during the monsoon season, there is dramatically more.

Plus the roads have been very hot, and this allows oil from the blacktop to come to the surface and create a slick coating.

The torrential downpours can also create limited visibility. Both of these conditions contribute to hazardous driving conditions. We encourage our customers to drive smarter and here are a few ways to help you when the driving conditions are wet and slick.

Drive smarter

Smart people adjust their strategy around changing conditions. Weather is one of those things. When driving in the rain or any inclement weather be careful and slow down.  Here are some other tips:

  • Keep your distance. You never know when the person ahead of you will spin out.
  • Do not tailgate—especially in limited visibility.
  • Slow down. Take corners slower.
  • Be patient. Expect extra traffic.

Use your headlights

Keep your lights on while driving in the rain, during the day and the night. In many states, laws require headlights during rain or whenever visibility is less than 1000 feet. That is about a quarter of a mile or three and one-third football fields.

Newer tires, excellent breaks, and wipers

  • Threadbare tires are always dangerous. Keep your traction at top performance. Maintain relatively new tires with deep tread. Or, get some all-weather tires. This should help if you hydroplane.
  • Get regular brake checks. (we suggest this even if you never get rain!)
  • Keep your windshield wiper blades ready for rainy days—before the rain comes.  A blurry windshield will only add to the danger already present if it’s raining hard.

Don’t use cruise control

Rainy weather demands full attention. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your feet ready for action.
If you hydroplane, cruise control can cause you to lose control. Also, the lack of traction may cause the cruise control to accelerate if you go into a hydroplane.

What to do if you hydroplane?

  • First, do not panic.
  • Ease off the accelerator and continue driving steadily forward.
  • Do not slam on the breaks.

Here’s a great video from Consumer Reports

According to Consumer Reports, hydroplaning is one of the scariest experiences a driver will face.

In the video below, Consumer Reports’ experts shows how a car hydroplanes and, more importantly, how to regain control of your wheels.

 

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