Why is Hydroplaning Dangerous? FAQs

What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning can occur when a vehicle is moving too fast in wet conditions. If a vehicle is traveling too quickly in heavy rain conditions, the tires can no longer grip the road. The speed allows the tires to travel on top of a thin layer of water, rather than staying on the surface of the road.

How does it work?

In short, hydroplaning is caused by water pressure. The physics comes into play when a tire approaches more water than it can move out of its way. Water pressure, created from the speed of the tire as it encounters the water, pushes water underneath the tire. When the pressure is great enough, the tire is separated from the road by this film of water.

Why is hydroplaning dangerous?

When your vehicle is no longer in contact with the road, you may lose control of your vehicle. Steering and braking become very difficult. The water separating the tire from the road means your tires no longer have traction.

How can you avoid it?

Check your tire tread. Tire tread is designed to channel water from beneath the tire so that it flows between the grooves and allows the tires to stay in contact with the road. If your tire has too little tread or is completely bald, it will not be able to effectively move water out of its way and you’ll be at greater risk for hydroplaning.

Slow down. The faster you drive, the more likely you will hydroplane. Slower speeds give your tires more time to move the water and remain in contact with the roads. Avoid areas where water accumulates, and leave extra space between your vehicle and the others on the road.

To make sure your vehicle is prepared for spring rain storms, bring it into Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts in Walled Lake. Our trained and experienced technicians will check key safety features, including your tire condition, tire pressure, balance, and alignment. If any services are needed, we will take the time to explain our recommendations and answer any questions you have.

Request an appointment online or call our Walled Lake auto repair shop at 248.668.1200.

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