It’s that time of year in Seattle when you start hoping for Spring’s arrival. Spring in the Seattle area is always a little wet, and wet roads mean hydroplaning. Little slips can be a bit disconcerting, but full-on hydroplaning and skidding is really frightening. It happens when there’s so much water in front of you that your tires can’t push it all out of the way before you drive on it. Suddenly, your car is riding free and out of control on a layer of water that sits between your tires and the concrete.
Let’s have a look at a few things you need to remember about driving on wet roads to manage hydroplaning.
Preventing the Situation
You can prevent a hydroplane altogether if you drive carefully and slowly, and especially when you’re taking a curve. And even more so if you steer and use your brakes lightly. If you lock your wheel or brake hard when you’re slowing down, you’re all but inviting a skid. Instead, keep the pressure light-to-mild on the brakes.
Aside from that, try to stay away from puddles. You can also try to drive in the tracks of the cars ahead of you, where some of the water has already been cleared away.
In Case You Do Skid
If you do start to hydroplane, the worst thing you can do is panic. You can usually recover just by easing off the gas until you can feel the car slow down and make contact with the road again. If you need to brake, your car’s onboard computer will pump the brakes when your anti-lock brakes kick in. (The computer is actually way more effective at pumping the brakes than you are!)
When things really get bad, keep calm, ease your foot off the gas, and steer carefully in whichever direction your car should go. Remember that you might have to turn the steering wheel back and forth rapidly to get the car driving straight.
If you’ve got a car without ABS, avoid using your brakes altogether. But most models of Honda on the road have ABS, so our customers can brake firmly and steer into the direction you’re skidding.
Make sure that your car is ready to hit the road when it’s wet. The most important thing is to keep your tires inflated correctly to maintain a good tread. It’s a really bad idea to put off replacing worn tires.
You should also check on your windshield wipers—it can be even more dangerous if you’re hydroplaning or skidding and you can’t see the road in front of you. And since braking is so important, have your brake pads checked at your 30k, 60k, 90k, or next factory recommended check-in to be safe. A well-maintained car and a defensive driving attitude are your best resources in weathering any storm that spring can throw at you.
Have you ever hydroplaned or skidded out, or know anyone who has? What did they do to avoid an accident? Or, was there an accident that could have been avoided? Tell us your story in the comments below.