Parasailing, paddle-boarding and hydroplaning may all sound like fun sports. But I can assure you from having personal experience with all of them, they are not! Although parasailing did get my blood pumping and paddle-boarding provides an awesome ab workout, hydroplaning only works out your nerves. 

Hydroplaning occurs when your tires cannot get enough traction on a wet road. This usually happens when you have very little tread on your tires, aka – bald tires. If you have no teeth (tread) on your tire to channel the water out, it cannot grip the road. The result is that your tires skate across the top of the water causing you to hydroplane. In a nutshell:

Tires – Tread + Water = Hydroplaning

If you’ve never hydroplaned, imagine taking your car jetskiing. Your car floats and you take a ride on the water. Sounds like fun, right? But, trust me, this type of ride is not the kind you want to be on. Your car is about five times heavier than a jetski, five times more difficult to handle, and five times more dangerous. Oh yeah, and cars are made for roads, not waves. 

There is absolutely nothing fun about hydroplaning. In fact, it is very frightening, and if you are a control freak, extremely scary. Having zero control over where your car is going, which direction it is turning or when it is stopping will scare the daylights out of you. Don’t be fooled, you can hydroplane in even a small amount of water. Wet roads, oil on the roads, slick tires and a catching a little air on a rain filled pothole can be a recipe for disaster.  If you are hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas, and if your car has ABS, don’t step on the brake. (if you do not have ABS, you want to pump the brakes) Let the car slow down on its own and most important it is to keep your eyes and your steering wheel in the direction you want to be going.  Resist the temptation to turn in the direction the car is going. This will only complicate matters and make it worse for when you do get traction back. Try as hard as you can to keep your car straight. 

Personally, I’d rather check my tires out before I drive than try to perform a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang move on the highway. Unless you think your car can walk on water – take these simple steps to avoid hydroplaning:

  • Check your tires– always make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread when you are going to be on wet roads (or dry roads!)
  • Watch for puddles – try to avoid water when driving because even minor puddles can cause major hydroplaning
  • Drive slowly – Yeah, yeah, we’ve told you that before. But seriously, slow down on wet roads. This will help you avoid the puddles and also give you better control over your car if you do hydroplane.
  • Downshift – drive in a lower gear to get better traction
  • Turn off Cruise Control – cruise control decreases the time it takes your car to slow down and can actually cause your car to speed up when hydroplaning
  • Keep your distance – keep a safe distance from other vehicles when the roads are wet just in case someone else’s car goes jetskiing.
  • Pull-in – if you feel that your tires are slipping on wet roads, drive straight over to a repair shop and treat yourself to a new set of tires and then share the shop on womenautoknow.com and let us know if that shop is pledge worthy! Other women will need to know too.

Learn how to inspect your tires for tread wear by clicking onto this link. Display our cool bumper sticker on your car and be a safer driver, passenger and consumer. 

 

Mechanically yours

Audra

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