Hydroplaning: What it is and what to do if you experience it

August 6th, 2020 by

Have you ever experienced hydroplaning while driving in the rain? It’s a frightening situation and not one we want to see any of our customers in. It can be dangerous, too, so it’s helpful to know how to react if you do find yourself hydroplaning next time the weather is wet. Toyota of Clermont is here to explain what hydroplaning is, what to do if you experience it, and how to prevent it in the first place.

Toyota of Clermont tips

What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning is when your car loses control and spins or skids because it no longer has traction on the road. Basically, when you drive through water or on wet roads at high speeds, water pushes your front tires up off the road a little bit. This causes a thin film of water to form between the road and your car’s tires, which means the tires are no longer gripping the road and have no traction. This is when you hydroplane and spin or skid out, and it can have serious and dangerous consequences.

So what should you do if you find yourself hydroplaning? Here are some easy tips to remember:

  • Your natural reaction will be to hit the brakes, hard – but don’t give into it. This will just cause you to slide more. Instead, remove your foot from the brakes to slow your vehicle and use your horn to alert other drivers of your situation and where you are.
  • Next, if you have an anti-lock brake system, push the brakes gently and slowly. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently to prevent them from locking up.
  • Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. It sounds odd, but turning the opposite direction can actually cause overcorrection and leave you spinning even worse than before. If your back wheels are sliding left, turn left, too. Use small adjustments; avoid jerking your car’s wheel.

safe driving tips

Toyota of Clermont’s recommendations for avoiding this dangerous situation

And finally, how can you prevent hydroplaning? Here are our recommendations:

Keep your car tires in good shape – this means bringing your car into Toyota of Clermont for routine car maintenance and service. You’ll want your tires to be in good general condition, inflated to the proper PSI, and to have enough tread depth to provide traction even when you’re driving in wet weather.

  • Slow down when it rains. The faster you’re going, the less control you have over your car and the more likely you are to hydroplane and lose control of your Clermont Toyota.
  • Don’t drive through water. You never know how deep a puddle is and this increases your risk of hydroplaning (and it also puts you at risk of damaging your transmission, your exhaust system, and your electrical system).
  • Drive in the interior lane of the road during rain. Water tends to pool in the exterior lanes, which means you’ll have to drive through it and put your chances of hydroplaning at a higher level.

Have questions or need Clermont car maintenance to get your ride ready to take on wet weather? Call us today at (352) 404-7001!