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

• Last updated: June 3, 2024

Skill of the Week: Handle a Car That’s Hydroplaning

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

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.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak 

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