Learning Center / Hydroplaning: What Causes it and How to Avoid it


hydro plane

When it comes to bad weather driving, three things stand out; black ice, snow and hydroplaning. Out of these three major bad weather driving conditions, many view hydroplaning as the scariest. The best way to avoid any type of bad weather driving situation is to learn about the conditions and take steps to prevent events, such as hydroplaning, from happening.

What Causes a Car to Hydroplane

Hydroplaning occurs when water forms a solid sheet between the road and the tires. It does not help matters that all roads have oil residue on them from all of the other vehicles that travel, as well as road work that often gets performed. Normally, the treads of the tire help to push the water out of the way to allow the tire to gain proper traction on the road. When oil residue is present, the water is unable to properly run off and gets a slick film on it. This prevents it from moving through the treads of your tires efficiently and decreases friction between the tire and the road.

If you have failed to properly maintain your tires by monitoring tread wear and rotating your tires as recommended, you can greatly increase the risk of hydroplaning. During heavy rain conditions, traveling at speeds greater than 35mph also increases the risk of hydroplaning. When traveling at 35mph or more, all it takes is 1/10th of an inch of water to hydroplane.

Avoiding Hydroplaning

While it is not always possible to avoid hydroplaning, you can do several things to help minimize the chances of it occurring. Some easy tips to follow to help avoid hydroplaning include:

What to do if you Hydroplane

Hydroplaning can be avoided by taking the above mentioned tips into action. However, it should be noted that no matter how much preparation you do, there are times where it is just going to happen, regardless. If you are caught in a hydroplaning situation, here are a couple of tips to try and get your vehicle back under control.

Hydroplaning can be a very scary experience. Knowing what to do in the case of a hydroplaning situation, and tips to take to help prevent it from happening, can not only save your life, but the lives of other motorists as well. Shop new tires in your area for the best defense against hydroplaning!