What should you do if you hydroplane during a rainstorm?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Driving during rainstorms can be a scary experience. The harder the rain comes down, the more it might affect your visibility. You may not be able to see much in front of your vehicle, let alone clearly scan the area around the road for potential risk factors. Visibility is far from the only risk that heavy rain can bring for drivers.

All of that moisture on the road surface can lead to an increased risk for drivers slipping. There are two contributing factors to vehicles losing traction during storms. One is that oil that has sunk into the asphalt might float to the surface and reduce traction. The other is hydroplaning, a scenario in which your tires don’t evenly and fully connect with the pavement because there isn’t enough tread to move the water from the road surface.

Hydroplaning can easily lead to severe collisions because it often results in temporary loss of control of the vehicle. If you find yourself hydroplaning, how should you respond?

There’s a simple formula for protecting yourself during a hydroplaning incident

Making the right decision when you start to lose control of your vehicle can be the difference between avoiding a crash and causing one. Obviously, you want to take your foot off of the gas in any situation where you find yourself losing or having already lost control of the vehicle. Slamming on the brakes won’t do much good when you don’t have good traction.

At the same time, pay attention to the movement of your vehicle. If your vehicle starts to turn or slide in one direction, turn into the slide. This is the same advice that drivers who have to deal with icy road conditions get. Turning into the slide will help you regain control of the vehicle more quickly. You can then straighten the wheel again once the slide ends.

Can you prevent hydroplaning from happening?

There are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of hydroplaning in the first place. If possible, don’t go out driving during heavy rainstorms or immediately afterward until the rain has drained off the pavement.

If you must drive in heavy rain, adjust your timetable and speed accordingly. Plan for a longer commute because you need to drive substantially slower to stay safe. Tires with good tread and proper inflation are less likely to hydroplane than tires that are worn or slightly flat. Finally, avoid drastic maneuvers and try to accelerate gently during heavy rain.