In Montana, the weather can be a big factor in road safety. Our state is prone to weather conditions that can make driving hazardous, including rain, sleet, icy roads and blowing and drifting snow. Heavy rain, wet roads and standing water in particular can give rise to hydroplaning, one of the most dangerous situations a driver can face. Fortunately, some basic safety habits can significantly reduce the likelihood of hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires lose contact with the road surface and ride on the surface of standing water. It is more likely to occur at speeds above 35 miles per hour. Reducing speed on a wet pavement, and avoiding sudden acceleration, can greatly reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
Worn out tires can also increase the risk of hydroplaning. It is important to replace worn tires and rotate them every seven to ten thousand miles.
Cruise control is a major factor in hydroplaning. Hydroplaning causes a vehicle’s wheels to rotate more slowly, and the cruise control system responds to this by opening up the throttle. It is a recipe for disaster. A driver should never use cruise control in the rain or on a wet road surface.
Hydroplaning is not inevitable. A driver who slows down and exercises reasonable care can avoid the phenomenon. When a motorist drives too fast for weather conditions, or drives on bald tires, they are negligent in the eyes of the law. When a negligent driver causes an auto accident, those who suffer injuries have the right to seek compensation through a civil lawsuit.
Source: Driving-tests.org, “How to Prevent and Recover from Hydroplaning,” accessed on Feb. 28, 2016