Lightning storm over the city

How to avoid hydroplaning?

Tips for driving in the rain

Are you worried about driving in rain? Have you experienced a loss of control due to wet roads? Perhaps you simply want to know what you should do about puddles? We have tips for driving in the rain that includes those pesky puddles along with an explanation for hydroplaning and how to avoid it.

two cars passing in deep waterShould you drive through big puddles?

First and foremost, do not attempt to avoid a puddle at the expense of your own safety or someone else’s. Slamming on the brakes suddenly with traffic behind or swerving sharply isn’t going to do anyone any favors. With that in mind, there are actually several reasons why you should avoid puddles when possible.

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Driving through a puddle at speed can result in hydroplaning which will result in a total loss of control with that wheel, but we will have more on that in a moment. Outside of that though, a puddle can often obscure the road. You do not know if there is debris in the puddle or even a disastrous pothole.

Finally, going through a puddle at speed causes splashing. Though splashing can certainly seem fun, it isn’t fun for your car. Your car is built to stand up to the elements pretty well, but a violent splash can often send water into places where it’s never supposed to go, potentially causing temporary or even permanent damage to your vehicle. Drive through deep puddles slowly when you can and avoid them entirely when possible.

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car driving through water red side viewWhat is hydroplaning and how do you avoid it?

Hydroplaning is also sometimes called aquaplaning. Hydroplaning occurs only on very wet surfaces typically with standing water. Essentially, the tire is treading water so quickly that a layer of water builds up underneath the tire preventing the tire from making contact with the road.

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Certain off-road vehicles actually take advantage of this effect to traverse calm waters at high speed. However, it is an undesirable state to be in on the road in any vehicle, much less a normal passenger car. When you are hydroplaning, that wheel has zero control other than applying forward force. If all four tires hydroplane, then you are essentially operating a sled at that point. If you find yourself in this situation, slow down until you regain control.