Driving during the rainy season can be a challenge. Rainwater can reduce visibility and make the road slippery, increasing the possibility of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when the tires lose their contact with the road surface, and the vehicle slides on a film of water. This is not only dangerous but also terrifying. To avoid hydroplaning while driving in the rain, it is essential to learn how to control the vehicle and stay safe on the road.
This guide is for all drivers, regardless of their level of expertise. If you are new to driving, you will learn how to stay safe during the rainy season. If you have been driving for some time, you will learn some tips and tricks that will help you avoid accidents and keep your vehicle under control.
Tips to Stop Hydroplaning:
1. Check the Tire Pressure:
Before driving in the rain, check your vehicle’s tires’ pressure. The recommended pressure can be found in the car owner’s manual and is specified for the front and rear tires. Underinflated tires can adversely affect the tire’s grip on the road, making it more prone to hydroplaning, while overinflated tires can reduce the surface area of the tire touching the road.
2. Check the Tread Depth:
The depth of the tire’s tread is crucial for effective water dispersal. The recommended tread depth is 1.6mm, so the tires are less likely to slide on wet roads. To test whether your tire’s tread depth is safe, all you need is a penny. Insert the pennies into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is still visible, the tread of your tire is less than 1.6mm and needs to be replaced.
3. Drive Slowly:
When driving in the rain, reduce your speed. Rainwater significantly affects the road’s grip, and driving too fast can lead to hydroplaning. Slow down while taking turns and in areas with little visibility. It is also advisable to keep a considerable distance between vehicles to avoid sudden brakes and collisions in case of hydroplaning.
4. Maintain a Safe Distance from the Car in Front:
Maintaining a safe distance from the car in front is essential, especially in the rainy season. You should have at least two seconds of shared reaction time with the driver ahead of you. When the road is wet, keep at least three seconds of shared reaction time. This gives you enough space to stop the vehicle safely in case of sudden braking.
5. Avoid Sudden Braking:
When driving on a wet road, avoid sudden braking. Sudden braking can cause the wheels to lock up, leading to a loss of control of the vehicle, if the speed is high, this can lead to an accident. Instead, apply the brakes gently and slowly. This will help keep your contact with the road.
6. Use the Brakes and Steering Wheel Together:
Hydroplaning often occurs when you turn your steering wheel too fast. While driving in the rain, use your brakes and steering wheel together. Avoid sharp, sudden turns. Instead, gently turn the steering wheel, and apply the brakes gently if you need to slow down. This will give you better control of the vehicle and reduce the possibility of hydroplaning.
7. Turn Off Cruise Control:
Cruise control should be turned off while driving in the rain. It can lead to hydroplaning, especially on wet roads. When you use cruise control in the rain, your vehicle’s speed may remain constant, ignoring the change in road conditions that can lead to hydroplaning.
8. Stay in the Centre Lane:
When driving in the rain, stay in the centre lane. The wheels of your vehicle would typically avoid the centre of the roadway, preventing water accumulation and reducing the possibility of hydroplaning. Avoid driving along the road’s edge or in the outer lanes, where the water is stagnant and can lead to hydroplaning.
9. Avoid Puddles:
When driving in the rain, avoid puddles, as they can be deeper than they appear. Driving through deep pools of water can lead to hydroplaning. Puddles also mask potholes, and the resulting impact can damage your vehicle. If you avoid puddles, you can help reduce the possibility of hydroplaning and keep your vehicle in good condition.
Driving in the rain can be challenging, but with the right tools and a few necessary tips, you can stay safe while driving in the rainy season. Check your tire pressure and tread depth, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, drive slowly, and avoid sudden braking and sharp turns. Keep your vehicle in the centre lane, avoid puddles, and turn off cruise control when driving in the rain. By following these tips, you can master the art of driving safely in the rain and avoid hydroplaning. Stay safe and keep practicing. Good luck!
1. National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/wet-weather-driving
2. US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/05036/index.cfm
3. AAA Exchange: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/wet-weather-driving-tips/#.X2K2zi1OjOQ
4. The Weather Channel: https://weather.com/driving/drivingsafety/tips/driving-in-heavy-rain-20130819
5. Michelin: https://www.michelin.co.uk/auto/tyres/complete-tyre-guide/tyre-management/driving-in-wet-weather