It’s springtime at last! And while we know how hazardous the icy roads of winter can be, wet roads can create the potential for hydroplaning (or aquaplaning), which can be just as dangerous.
When a layer of water comes between the rubber of your tires and the surface of the road, there is a loss of traction. This means your car may not respond to control inputs such as steering, braking or accelerating. If all four wheels are affected, your car will go out of control.
The treads (or grooves) of your tires are designed to disperse water and provide friction even in wet conditions. However, when there is too much water for the capacity of the tire, hydroplaning will occur. The risk of hydroplaning increases with the depth of the standing water, and your specific tire type and their condition.
Here are some rules of thumb to remember while driving on wet roads:
- Reduce your speed to maintain better control
- Keep your tires inflated. Under inflated tires reduce the effectiveness of the tread.
- Check your tires for tread depth. Half-worn treads will hydroplane about 3-4 MPH lower than full-tread tires.