June 24, 2020 By Nicolas A. Calanoc

Workshop: 4 Tips If You Hydroplane

Even the best of drivers can lose confidence once they no longer have control of their car in a hydroplane. It’s something that can happen really fast. The three factors of hydroplaning are:

  1. Speed – The more speed that is applied, the less traction the vehicle has with the road.
  2. Tread Depth – The more worn out the treads of a tire are, the ability of the tire to disperse water becomes less.
  3. Water Depth – The deeper the water is, the more water is needed to be dispersed in order to gain traction

Keeping those factors in mind, there are many ways to prevent a hydroplane, like slowing down when the road is wet, avoid hitting puddles of water, and regularly checking your tire treads that should never be below 1.6mm in depth. Hopefully, it never happens, but there may come a time that even if you do try your best to follow these tips on preventing hydroplaning, you might still end up in one. What makes it equally hard to handle is that it isn’t something you can readily, easily, and safely practice like parking and driving.

So here are the things you need to do when the time comes when you hydroplane:

  1. Do not panic – Every step after this will depend on your cognitive abilities, so being in an unruffled state will even the odds.
  2. Do not suddenly brake or accelerate – Sudden braking will lock the brakes, causing the vehicle to spin out. Sudden acceleration will throw the vehicle off to more danger.
  3. Look where you need to go – Target fixation is an attention phenomenon that is seen when someone is so focused on an observed object that they increase their risk of colliding with the object that they never intended. To avoid this, look at any opening, clear path, or straight line on the road so that your cognitive abilities will intuitively control the car to the safe direction.
  4. Apply light steering for correction on where you need to go – Now that you have your sights on where you need to go, apply light and feathered corrections to the steering wheel to get there. Any sudden movement will put the vehicle in imminent danger.

If you get it right, you will get through the hydroplane with enough control to put yourself in harm’s way. At the very least, even trying to follow these steps should mitigate any accident that might happen. We hope you never encounter a hydroplane, but at least now you know how to deal with them.

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