Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Reduce the Risk of Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is when a tire loses contact with the road and skims on water.

As shown in the accompanying video, compliments of Consumer Reports, hydroplaning can cause a complete loss of steering and braking control, and it can happen in an instant. Even a thin film of water can cause hydroplaning, and it doesn’t have to be raining for there to be a risk. A puddle can cause it.

According to Consumer Reports
, the best way to reduce the risk of hydroplaning is to simply slow down when roads are wet. The faster you go, the greater the risk. Avoid driving through any standing water whenever possible.

As we’ve seen in tire testing, some tires are much more resistant to hydroplaning than others. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, check our Ratings for tires that scored well for wet-weather traction. These are often models with a more open, aggressive tread pattern that helps channel water to the sides.

Consumer Reports also recommends checking the pressure of all your tires, including the spare, at least once a month. And don’t drive on worn-out tires. As a tire wears, its tread becomes shallower and has less resistance to hydroplaning. Our tests have shown that tires that are just half worn can hydroplane at speeds 3-4 mph less than when they’re new.

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