While we talk so frequently of the warm, sunny weather in South Florida, longtime residents understand that there’s a dark underbelly that can creep up and spoil the nonstop party. From random torrential rains to tropical storms and depressions, there will be times when rain comes on and makes roads more dangerous than they might seem. Factor in the supercars and exotics at Prestige Imports — many with high torque ratings and manual transmissions — and we’ve got a recipe for certain disaster. So let’s look at hydroplaning, a common occurrence when the rain finds its way here.
What Is Hydroplaning?
If we’re talking about a dictionary definition of hydroplaning, it would go something like this: what happens when your tires skid or slide across a wet roadway. Of course, that simple description does next to nothing to help you avoid it when you find yourself heading into a hydroplane. But first, let’s get into what actually causes this to happen.
When water begins to accumulate on a roadway, in many cases, it has nowhere to go. Unless the standing water is scattered by the tires of cars on the road, it will simply sit on the surface, and eventually might build up to the point where there’s more on the road than one car’s tire can disperse. This will cause water to be trapped between the tire and the asphalt itself, and it will literally separate the car from the road. Traction is lost, and now the driver has no way of steering or braking, since that connection to the road isn’t there.
When is a driver in danger of hydroplaning?
Even if you’ve got wide tires or ones with channels to remove excess water, if there’s enough rain in a short period of time — like it does when it rains here — hydroplanes will often occur. It’s commonly said that the first ten minutes of rain are when drivers are most in danger of hydroplaning, since the mixture of water and oil on the road makes it extra slippery. Additionally, if you’re driving over 35 mph in these conditions, the danger is enhanced further.
Read More: Protecting Your Exotic from the Heat and Sun
How does a driver avoid hydroplaning?
- Don’t use cruise control
- Keep tires at proper air pressure
- Avoid standing water
- Avoid hard braking
- Stay in lower gears
- Slow down
- Avoid sharp turns
- Drive in tracks ahead of you
- Avoid outer lanes
If you find yourself in conditions when hydroplaning might occur, there are ways to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Here are a few of them.
Obviously, the most important thing in any of these situations is to stay aware, since you can really only account for yourself out there. We hope that these tips help to keep you safe, and that you’ll come see us soon at Prestige Imports.