Freeman Grapevine wants to remind you to take it slow on roads that have just seen a fresh rainfall. Why is that, you ask? Because the danger of your vehicle losing contact with the road and hydroplaning is amplified.
You see, when we don’t have rain for a while dirt, oil, dust and other materials layer our roads. When we have a deluge of rain like we had the other day, it turns all of that dirt and dust on the roadways into a thin layer of slim and mud. Throw on top of that a layer of water that is having a hard time breaking through that dirt barrier and you have a condition that is ripe for a hydroplaning disaster.
Have you ever come to a quick stop after a rain and skidded a little. Think about what would have happened if you were going twice the speed. You would have slid for a considerable distance before coming to a stop. That is if you didn’t hit another car, barrier or went off of the road. What can you do to curb hydroplaning after rainfall.
First, you should slow down. That’s of paramount importance to remember. Speed only exasperates the danger of hydroplaning. You will quickly find out that braking hard to slow your speed will only throw you into a spin. Slow down when it is wet. Especially if we haven’t had rain in a long time.
Second, just forget about hitting your brakes entirely. I know the urge and impulse is to hit them hard, but that can actually make a bad situation even worse. Stopping tire rotation changes the physics of the skid and can throw you into a spin. Instead, just easy up on the gas. That’s right, slowly release the gas pedal. Try to avoid drastic changes in speed which can exasperate the situation.
Don’t cut your steering wheel either. Your impulse will be to turn the wheel sharply in the direction of the skid, but that will only make matters worse when your tires make contact with the road again. Think about it. If your wheel is cut sharply, when you do make contact with the roadway, your tire will be pointing one direction, but your momentum will continue to move forward. You will the throw your Dallas Fort Worth Buick, or GMC violently in one direction, causing you to then try to straighten out by over correcting the opposite direction.
Resist the urge to turn your steering wheel too much. It’s going to be hard not to turn it any, you just have to move in small increments. Try to keep your steering wheel as straight as you can. This will keep your tires facing forward…the same direction as your car is moving.
Here’s a vintage video on hydroplaning that is pretty descriptive:
Do you have any other suggestions for your fellow readers? Is there anything I may have left out? While Freeman Grapevine welcomes the rain, it can also cause dangerous hydroplaning situations that you should always be cognizant of. Your best bet is to slow down when it is wet out. You can’t see or predict when a road may be slicker than normal.