Hydroplaning while driving— which happens when a vehicle’s tires ride up on a film of water, causing them to lose contact with the road’s surface— can be scarier than a posse of ghosts and goblins on Halloween night. If you lose control of your vehicle and panic, a dangerous situation may escalate.
According to Bill Van Tassel, manager of driver training programs at AAA’s headquarters in Heathrow, Fla.:
• Always make sure your tires have adequate tread.
• Reduce your speed by about one- third in wet conditions.
If your car still begins to hydroplane:
1. Ease your foot off the accelerator. “Don’t slam on the brakes,” Van Tassel says. “That can make the situation worse.” Smoothly easing off the accelerator reduces speed and gradually shifts more of the vehicle’s weight to the front tires, which puts them back in contact with the pavement.
2. Look and steer in your desired direction. “Keep your eyes on the section of road where you want to go,” Van Tassel says. “Then, if you need to, start to squeeze the brakes gently.”
3. Watch out. “Hydroplaning usually happens during heavy rain but can occur anytime pavement is wet.”