It can happen in an instant. During a storm or a flood, even the most seasoned commercial driver may find himself in a very dangerous driving situation: hydroplaning.
It happens when there is too much water on the road for tires to disperse, so a wedge of water forms in front of the tires. The car suddenly rides up onto the wave, losing contact with the road. It is a frightening and perilous situation because the driver loses the ability to steer.
Fleets need to know how to reduce their possibilities of hydroplaning as well as what steps to take in the event hydroplaning occurs when they are behind the wheel. Experts offer the following safety advice.
How to Avoid Hydroplaning
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Make sure you have adequate tire tread. The minimum recommendation is 1/16th of an inch.
- Slow down. When driving on wet roads, slow down to 30mph or less
- Avoid hard braking and sharp turns.
- Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of yours.
- Never use cruise control when driving on wet roads because if you start to hydroplane it takes additional time to disable the function before starting to regain control of your vehicle.
Regain Control If Your Vehicle Does Hydroplane
- Take your foot off the gas.
- Steer in the direction the car is hydroplaning. Then, once you regain traction, steer in the direction you want to go.
- Never slam on the brakes, but rather, apply the brakes very gently once you feel the pavement again.
- Once you've recovered from hydroplaning, pull over and take a moment to calm down.
To learn more about how to respond to hydroplaning, watch the video here.