Texas Hydroplaning - What you need to Know before you Go!


Here at Glenn Polk Autoplex in Gainesville, Texas, we care about the safety of the drivers we serve. Hydroplaning, or sliding uncontrollably on a wet surface, is a common cause of accidents when the roads are wet. And given the amount of rain we receive in North Central Texas — over 35 inches on average each year — wet roads are a common occurrence. It’s well worth your time to take a few minutes and learn how to avoid hydroplaning when driving in inclement weather. It could save your life.

When Can Hydroplaning Occur?

When it rains, water will normally push up through the thread of the tire, allowing the tire to remain in constant contact with the road. However, when that "rubber meets the road" contact is disrupted, it can cause an uncontrollable gliding of your car known as hydroplaning. This experience can be alarming — especially when you are traveling 60 miles per hour!

It’s also important to note that hydroplaning is more likely to occur when your tire threads are low, or the tire isn’t properly inflated. For more tire safety questions and answers, check out this helpful article from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Tips for Driving On Wet Roads

As residents of the Lone Star State, we all have to drive in the rain when a violent summer thunderstorm pops up, or when skies turn dreary during the winter months. Whatever the season and type of precipitation, remember these tips for driving on wet roads.

  • Keep your chances of a hydroplane situation low by dropping your speed.

  • Don't tailgate. Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road. Doing so will give you ample time to brake and avoid a wreck.

  • Pay constant attention to road conditions. In heavy rain, visibility is limited, so this isn't the time for a cell phone conversation. Keep your eyes and ears on the road.

  • Help out your fellow drivers by turning on your headlights and leaving them on until the rain passes.

How to Avoid Hydroplaning

Now that you know when hydroplaning can occur and some tips for driving on wet roads, it’s time to learn how to mount a good defense.

The best way to avoid hydroplaning is to be prepared and to take the necessary precautions. That means taking proper care of your tires. Have them checked and rotated according to the manufacturer's recommendations, monitor the depth of your threads, and be proactive about replacing your tires. Don't wait until they're entirely worn out before getting a new set.

At Glenn Polk Autoplex, we carry an extensive inventory of tires for sale, many of them suitable for multiple models of cars, trucks and SUVs. We also offer good, better and best options, depending upon the kind of driving you do and how much time you spend on the road. Moreover, our service professionals are always more than happy to answer any tire safety questions you might have.

What To Do If You Do Hydroplane

Even after learning how to avoid hydroplaning and implementing all the ways to prevent it, you can still find yourself in a slippery situation. If your vehicle does start hydroplaning, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Do not jerk the steering wheel and attempt to overcorrect, which is almost certain to throw you into a spin.

However, don’t slam on your breaks. Take your foot off the accelerator and gently pump the breaks, while keeping your steering wheel pointed in the direction of the road. Remember, don’t panic!

As the saying goes, "when it rains, it pours." Don't add hydroplaning to the mix. Check the state of your tires. Schedule an inspection with the service pros here at Glenn Polk Autoplex in Gainesville, Texas. They'll make sure to treat your tires — and your entire vehicle — with expert care.

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