With rain blighting our roads it’s worth noting a few tips about how to avoid the hazards of hydroplaning – which occurs when car tyres can’t move enough water out of the way to maintain contact with the road and causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
• Make sure your tyres have plenty of tread – the deeper the tread, the more effective the tyres are at moving the water out of the way. If your tyres are bald they can’t clear the water and it can create a wedge in front of the rubber and the pressure of the water lifts your tyres away from the road
• Keep tyres properly inflated – this is another one of the main contributing factors to hydroplaning and under-inflated tyres can be particularly dangerous
• Give yourself more stopping distance that usual on wet roadways. Think of a wet road as
presenting a condition that requires twice the stopping distance — that means take twice the following distance.
• If you start to hydroplane hard braking and steering can be fatal. The safest manoeuvre is to take your foot off the accelerator, wait until your car begins to slow down and the tyres can regain their grip, then you can take control once again so you can regain control. If you have an antilock braking system (ABS) you can try hitting the brakes. If you don’t have an ABS, you might try gently tapping your brake to mimic the motion of ABS.
Even for the best drivers, hydroplaning can occur, but if you look after your tyres, drive carefully and don’t panic, you can lessen the impact.
Oliver Hall, Operations Team