You probably know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Regardless of where you live, it likely rains often during spring. While it helps plants and flowers grow, it also creates driving risks. In particular, rain can cause cars to hydroplane. So have your tires checked by the technicians at Bob Brady Hyundai in Decatur, Illinois.
Hydroplaning occurs when the tires on a vehicle don’t grab a road’s wet surface. Instead, they ride on top of the water. Typically, this happens during or after heavy rain. However, cars can hydroplane even when a road’s slightly damp. Because it leads to crashes that result in injuries and worse, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do.
After all, if your vehicle hydroplanes, you’ll lose the ability to steer. New and young drivers aren’t the only ones who experience hydroplaning. It can also happen to people who’ve driven for years. Either way, it’s scary. However, you can reduce the risk of this happening to you.
Reduce the Risk
While there’s no guarantee your car won’t hydroplane on a wet surface, here are ways to dramatically reduce the risk.
Driving too fast increases the risk of hydroplaning. Specifically, whenever you drive more than 35 miles per hour on a wet road, your car could hydroplane. For that reason, slow down. Even if the posted speed limit says 40 miles per hour, reduce your speed to 30. After all, it’s better to arrive at your destination safely than not at all.
Have the Tires Checked
Take your car in to have your tires rotated and balanced. That involves moving the tires to different positions and adding weights if needed. Most manufacturers suggest this every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. That’ll prevent uneven wear that can compromise traction. Remember to make this a part of scheduled maintenance.
Buy the Right Tires
Make sure you have good tires on your car. Whether you buy new or newer tires, always go with all-weather. After all, they’re designed specifically to provide better traction compared to other tires. Keep in mind that low tread ranks among the top reasons cars hydroplane.
Don’t Use Cruise Control
When driving while it’s raining, avoid using the cruise control. When a car hydroplanes, it’s important for the driver to take control as quickly as possible. However, it’ll take additional seconds to maneuver your vehicle safely with cruise control. Time is precious in a situation like this.
Pay Attention to the Roadway
At no time should you use your cell phone when driving. Especially while it’s raining, you must give the roadway your full attention. Otherwise, you could face serious consequences, including hydroplaning.
Watch Out for Potholes
Hydroplaning doesn’t just apply to highways. The same thing can happen on the street in a quiet neighborhood. So, regardless of where you drive, watch out for potholes. After all, going through one, even on a dry or slightly damp street, could be enough for your vehicle to hydroplane. That’s because it doesn’t take a lot of water on the tires for it to happen.
Correcting a Hydroplane
Now that you know what causes hydroplaning, it’s time to discover ways to correct your car if it occurs. Here are some helpful tips.
The minute you feel your car begin to slide, lift your foot off the accelerator. Trying to straighten it out by accelerating will only make things worse.
Instinctively, many people apply the brakes. However, that’ll increase the risk of them losing complete control. Therefore, you never want to hit the brakes in response to hydroplaning.
While it might seem odd to steer your car in the same direction as the hydroplane, that’s what you must do. First, that’ll help realign the tires with the direction of your car. Second, that’ll make it easier for you to regain control. Once you feel the tires gripping, slowly drive to a place where you can pull over. After all, you’ll probably need a minute or two to calm down.
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The best way to stay safe when driving is to have the tires on your vehicle checked. For that, contact the service center at Bob Brady Hyundai in Decatur, Illinois.