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in: Featured, Manly Know-How, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 2, 2021

What to Do When You Hydroplane While Driving

Comic guide What to do when you hydroplane.

Hydroplaning is a terrifying situation for even the most experienced driver. It occurs when water is forced under your tires, causing them to leave the surface of the roadway and you to lose control of the car. In normal conditions, your tires are designed to shed water to the sides. But, in deeper pools of water, or when your tires are worn, the grooves on your tires may not be sufficient to force water out of the way. When water isn’t sent to the side, it goes underneath and hydroplaning occurs. At higher speeds, the problem is only exacerbated.

As with most emergency maneuvers, the best way to deal with them is to avoid them entirely. A few pointers for prevention:

  • Keep tires properly inflated
  • Replace worn tires
  • Avoid cruise control in wet conditions
  • Drive slower in wet conditions
  • Avoid road edges where puddles tend to accumulate

If you do find yourself losing control, staying calm and making smooth maneuvers is important. As outlined above, what specific actions you take depend on the type of car you drive.

1: Don’t slam on the brakes.

2: Look for an open space.

3: Accelerate slightly and steer into open space.

4: Let off the accelerator and steer into open space.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak 

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