It’s officially summer. For some folks summer in New England means weekends at the beach, a ride up to New Hampshire to relax by the lake or a family road trip to Bar Harbor. The temperatures can get pretty high during the summer months and those high temps are usually accompanied by high humidity.
Those really humid days usually start with lots of sunshine but sometimes end with heavy rain, hail storms, thunder, and lightning. It goes without saying that wet weather driving can be dangerous, but studies show that while people tend to slow down and drive more carefully during a snowstorm, the same cannot be said about driving in the rain. Rain is the deadliest driving hazard according to federal data. Rainy weather is the cause of more fatal accidents than snow even in Alaska.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning occurs when a tire comes in contact with more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin layer of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control.
When does Hydroplaning Occur?
Hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface, the first 10 minutes of a rainfall can be the most dangerous. When rain mixes with oil residue on the road surface, it creates slippery conditions that can cause vehicles to hydroplane. This can be a deadly combination for everyone on the road.
How Do I Avoid Hydroplaning?
The following are important tips to avoid hydroplaning:
- Slow down when roads are wet: the faster you drive, the harder it is for your tires to scatter the water
- Stay away from puddles and standing water
- Keep your tires properly inflated
- Rotate and replace tires when necessary
- Avoid driving in outer lanes where water tends to accumulate
- Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you
- Turn off cruise control
- Avoid hard braking
- Try not to make sharp or quick turns