Hydroplaning: what it is and how to manage and prevent it

For drivers in Maryland, hydroplaning is one of the most dangerous risks of bad weather. Hydroplaning is when a car or other vehicle loses control while driving over a slippery patch that is covered in water. It’s very hard to recover from hydroplaning if you do not know how to do it.

Understanding hydroplaning

The process of hydroplaning is the result of water forming a layer over the surface of the road. Under normal conditions, a vehicle’s wheels maintain contact with the road at all times, and that friction is what allows the wheels to push the vehicle forward as well as change direction. That direct contact with the road is essential.

However, when there is enough water on the top of the road, the wheels can’t touch the road surface, and they sit on top of the water layer instead. They lose all their friction and ability to control the vehicle, so the result is an immediate loss of control.

Avoiding hydroplaning is the safest approach. Drive slowly, avoid all water and be ready to avoid other vehicles that might slide.

If you do start to hydroplane, avoid using the brake because that will make the vehicle even harder to control. Instead, stay calm and turn in the direction of your skid. This will allow the wheels to grip more quickly and get you back in control sooner. Once you get out of the water and back onto the road surface, you will have reduced the risk of an auto accident.

Hydroplaning can be very dangerous. It is essential to avoid it whenever possible and get out of the skid if you experience it.

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