Wet roads will not become a driver’s nightmare when they completely lose control. Even a small slide can cause the vehicle to move away from the track or, worse, to paralyze traffic.
This article will show you how to choose all-season tires for rainny road and what to do when falling into hydroplaning. Keep reading with tips for safe driving during the monsoon season!
What Is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning occurs when wet roads become slippery, causing the vehicle to lose control and cause an accident
Hydroplaning, or aquaplaning, occurs when the road surface in contact with the wheel has the presence of water, causing the wheel to lose grip and traction, sliding gradually.
Whether there is a little or a lot of water on the road surface, this situation can still lead to more danger if the driver loses complete control and could cause an accident to himself and other vehicles or passersby.
What Causes Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is caused by road conditions, vehicle speed, tread depth, and weight. These factors are divided into two main reasons:
Water appearing on the surface can come from rain or the irrigation system; due to the poor road material or drainage system, it is still stagnant or has not yet dried. It also poses the vehicle’s risk of skidding when the water height reaches over 1/10th of an inch.
Some factors from your vehicles can also indirectly influence this event, such as:
- Speed: 35 mph or more may increase the water slide risk. Part of that is because the wheels don’t have time to drain, reducing friction
- Tread depth: Used to support traction and increase friction. When it is worn down, the functions above will decrease, alarmingly when they are less than 2/32 inch
- Weight: The larger the size, the more advantageous it is in combating this condition, as there is enough force to push the water under the tire away.
How Is Dangerous Hydroplaning?
Wet roads cause over 70% of traffic crashes in the US, with 46% occurring in rain. Collisions have a fatality rate of up to 76%. These accidents can cause drivers to lose control and lead to collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstructions. Additionally, they can result in fuel tank leaks and large-scale fires.
What Should I Do If My Vehicle Is Hydroplaning?
It is best to remain calm, stop pedaling, and let the car naturally slow down
When faced with an emergency while driving, it is important to remain calm and clear-headed. If passengers are in the car, ensure they are also relaxed, tighten their seat belts, and hold onto the seat to avoid being thrown off balance by any turbulence. Finally, follow these guidelines:
- Stop pedaling the accelerator and brake: Give priority to natural deceleration. If your car has an Anti-lock braking system (ABS), you can gently apply the brake to regain traction.
- Hold the steering wheel tightly: Limit movement in many directions, apart from trying to avoid obstacles.
- Avoid coming to a complete stop: As soon as you have control of the vehicle, you should slowly pull it over to the side of the road, check the car, and regain your composure before driving.
How Can I Prevent Hydroplaning?
It is not entirely possible to avoid aquaplaning possibilities. However, the suggestions below can help you reduce your chances of encountering them and their consequences.
- Slow down: Reduce speed by 5 – 10 mph or more when traveling through puddles or wet roads, or if possible, avoid them
- Do not use autopilot: When the unexpected happens, taking the initiative will help you better control the vehicle
- Watch for vehicles ahead: If they show signs of turning, slowing down, or skidding, you can predict the road you are about to take to avoid and always maintain a safe distance from them
- Tire inspection and maintenance: Such as keeping the prescribed pressure, rotating the tires every 5000 to 6000 miles, making sure the tread depth is at least 2/32 inch, etc. Once the tires wear out, the ability to grip the road and friction will also decrease, especially when the road is wet and slippery.
Tires Designed To Minimize Hydroplaning
Specialized tires often have deep treads and varied sipping to increase friction and grip (Source: COR Wheels)
Tire models differ in size, tread depth, and sipping to enhance their performance and grip. Certain models are particularly suitable for wet roads, such as:
- Grand touring: Has an asymmetrical tread design for improved handling and traction on wet or snowy roads. It also reduces noise for a comfortable ride
- Performance: Has a unique tread design, structure, and rubber compound, increasing control into corners and reducing stopping distances. Tires are suitable for all seasons, including on “Black Ice” roads.
Hydroplaning is not a rare event every rainy season, but everything can be fine if you are always ready and follow safe driving rules. Not only do you know how to stay safe on rainy roads with the right tires, but you also need to equip ABS, as well as check and maintain your tires regularly.
The most important thing is to keep yourself calm and clear-headed when unexpected situations happen to resolve promptly. Last but not least, safety is always a priority, so do not be afraid to invest your budget and time to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge, skills, and accessories!