Hydroplaning: What it is and how to avoid it

Hydroplaning is something you may have experienced if you have ever driven on wet, icy roads. Hydroplaning is a more formal term. It occurs when your vehicle’s wheels come in contact with wet or slippery surfaces. Your tires will slide or skid as a result. Hydroplaning is also known as aquaplaning. It occurs when your tires lose contact to the road surface. Although the sensation is usually temporary, it can be frightening if you don’t know how to deal with it.

According to accident statistics, the weather conditions that increase hydroplaning risk correlate strongly with accidents.

  • More than 50% of all accidents involve single vehicle crashes.
  • Wet pavement is responsible for an average of 1,000,000 accidents each year.
  • This causes 4,700 deaths and 384,000 injury.
  • One in seven motor vehicle accidents and injuries are also caused by wet pavement.
  • Weather-related causes account for about one quarter of all vehicle accidents.
  • These accidents account for 74% of all traffic accidents on wet pavement.
  • Around 21% of all vehicle crashes are caused by inclement weather (rain, snow, or fog).
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Hydroplaning is something you need to be aware of before you take the wheel as a driver.

Hydroplaning: What does it mean?

Hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose traction because of the water in the road. Your tires may become sloppy and slip on the pavement, reducing your ability to steer or brake. Hydroplaning can make you feel temporarily helpless. These are some of the common effects of hydroplaning:

  1. Loss of steering
  2. Loss of brakes
  3. Power control lost

Hydroplaning: What should you do?

Hydroplaning can be paralyzing. However, there are things you can do right away to regain control and decrease the likelihood of an accident.

Hydroplaning is a dangerous condition. Here are some tips to help you stay calm.

  1. Move the wheel. If you feel your car slide, turn it in the direction of hydroplaning to stop the car from sliding. This increases the wheel’s ability for traction.
  2. Stop speeding.
    To gradually decrease your speed, lift your foot off of the accelerator. Keep in mind that speed can increase the volume of water your tires must displace. Slowly letting your car decelerate can help your tires gain an advantage.
  3. Pump the breaks.
    Avoid the temptation to slam the brakes, as this can worsen hydroplaning. Instead, pump the brakes lightly to slow the vehicle down without increasing the skid.
  4. Use a lower gear.
    You can reduce the chances of your car colliding with another vehicle by switching to a lower gear. Although it may seem distracting to downshift mid-hydroplane and drive in a lower gear, this can help prevent hydroplaning.
  5. Take some time to breathe.
    No matter how many years you’ve been driving, hydroplaning can be frightening. Hydroplaning can be avoided by pulling over as soon as it is safe. You can take more time, slow down, or avoid pooling water if you drive calmly.
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Hydroplaning occurs when?

Hydroplaning occurs when the water content on the road is greater than what your tires can scatter at a given speed. Hydroplaning can happen at any time there is a wet surface to the road, but it can also occur in certain situations.

Hydroplaning is most common in the following conditions

Many drivers don’t realize the dangers of roads that are saturated with moisture. It doesn’t take long to cause an accident. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of weather-related accidents occur in a rainstorm. Only 17% of snow-related crashes are recorded and 12% are caused by ice. Hydroplaning doesn’t need to happen in a rainstorm. Even if it does, a little rain can create slippery conditions for older tires.

Hydroplaning speed of the car

It’s a recipe to disaster when you combine high speeds with slick roads. Hydroplaning is a serious possibility if you travel at 35 mph or more. Your ability to control your vehicle at higher speeds is reduced, and your tires are less likely to be able to grip the ground.

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Hydroplaning in snow

Hydroplaning is most commonly caused by rain, rain and oil mixtures. However, it can also occur with snow. The friction of snow can be reduced and the likelihood of the road sliding down significantly. It can also make it more difficult to stop. It is common to believe that you should double your braking distance in rain. However, in snow it is better to quadruple this distance to give yourself more time to bring your vehicle to a safe halt.

Hydroplaning: How to avoid it

Rain can cause havoc on roads, which is something many drivers don’t realize. Although we may be conditioned to slow down and take extra care when there is snow or ice, rain is more common and can cause us to not use the necessary caution.

These are some things you can do to prevent hydroplaning when driving in wet conditions.

Weather prediction

Driving is most dangerous when it rains. This is when natural oils and road residue rise to the surface and mix with rainwater. It creates a slippery and slippery surface. To avoid slippery conditions, don’t drive when it rains.

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Slow down

Your tires will displace water more quickly if you drive in wet conditions. They will eventually become unable to keep up with the water buildup between your tires, asphalt, and the road. Hydroplaning can be avoided by slowing down, keeping a distance between cars, and avoiding any standing water or puddles on the roads.

Check your tires

To keep your tires in top shape, you need to do some basic maintenance. Regular rotation and balance of your tires are essential. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. An expert tire mechanic can inspect your tires and determine the condition of your tread. Hydroplaning can be a serious problem if your tires are old and worn.

Avoid cruise control

While cruise control is useful for long trips, it is not recommended to be used when there is rain, hail, or snow on the roads. You can become too close to other vehicles and increase your risk of being involved in an accident by giving up control over both your speed as well as following distance. Avoid cruise control. Instead, keep the vehicle under manual control.

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If you are in a hydroplaning accident, who is at fault?

Hydroplaning is not always easy to determine who is at fault. In order to determine who is responsible for compensating victims of a car accident, insurance companies will attempt to determine fault.

A driver has some control over certain things that can lead to a hydroplaning accident. The driver’s speed is one factor. If a driver is driving at unsafe speeds relative the road conditions or weather, they could be held responsible by the insurance company. A driver with bald tires or low-quality tires can dramatically increase the chance of an accident. This could also render the driver ineligible.

FAQ

Who is responsible for a hydroplaning accident

There are many factors that can affect the outcome of a hydroplaning accident. The manufacturer may be responsible if a defect is found in your tires. Drivers who are speeding or otherwise negligent would usually be held responsible.

Is my insurance able to cover hydroplaning accidents?

Car insurance covers you against a variety of road accidents, as well as natural accidents like hydroplaning. Insurance companies will often review the accident and rely on a police log to determine who is responsible for damages.

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Hydroplaning is prevented by all-wheel drive

There is some controversy about whether all-wheel drive (AWD), actually reduces or increases hydroplaning risk. AWD technology can help to regain traction and reduce power loss from hydroplaning tires, according to some car manufacturers.

How can tire pressure impact the likelihood of hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is caused by low tire pressure. This affects how close your tires make contact with the road. Under-inflated tires can cause water to seep between the tires and the road. This increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. You can be sure to check your tire pressure regularly and make sure your tires are correctly inflated.