Wisconsin is a rather wet state compared to others. Believe it or not, we average more than 34 inches of precipitation each year. Whether it’s rain or the snow melting, driving in wet weather can be dangerous.
If you have ever found yourself skidding across the road with no control of your vehicle, you know how scary that can be. You also know how easy it is to slide into a curb, ditch, or even another vehicle when roads are wet. Though avoiding wet roads may not be possible, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is term used to describe the sliding of a vehicle across a wet road. This occurs when the tread on a tire is unable to scatter enough water to maintain traction with the road. Once the water separates the underside of a tire with the surface of the road, the driver can lose steering and braking control of the vehicle.
Protect Yourself from Wet Roads
You may not be able to hold back the rain, but you can protect yourself and minimize the risk of hydroplaning on a wet road. We here at Smith Insurance and Financial Services have put together a list of tips to help our Big Bend area customers stay safer in wet conditions.
Avoid driving in the first 10 minutes of a light rain.
Though hydroplaning can occur at any time when roads are wet, the first 10 minutes of a shower are often considered the most dangerous. This is because water is combining with oils on the road surface to create slick conditions.
Maintain your tires.
Tires are your number one defense against wet road surfaces. If your tires are bald and poorly inflated, you increase your risk of hydroplaning. Be sure to regularly check the tread and inflation levels on your tires, and rotate them regularly to encourage even wear.
This one is the simplest of all, but also the most important. The faster you are going when your vehicle begins to hydroplane, the more dangerous your vehicle becomes when it starts to spin or slide out of control. Since hydroplaning affects your ability to brake, take precautions and reduce your speed below the speed limit when roads are wet.
Leave extra room between your vehicle and other cars.
When conditions are wet, take steps in anticipation of a potential skid. If you leave more distance between you and the vehicles traveling in front of you, you might be less likely to hit another car if your vehicle begins to slide.
What to Do if You Hydroplane
If you find yourself skidding on a wet road, don’t panic. Memorize the following steps so you will know exactly what to do when you start to lose control of your vehicle:
- Do not slam on the brakes. This can cause the vehicle to spin.
- Do not over-correct or yank the steering wheel.
- Keep your vehicle straight and gently pump the brakes.
- If your vehicle is veering left or right, steer into the direction of the skid.
If you do find yourself in a ditch or in a collision with another vehicle, you don’t have to worry about the cost of repairs. We here at Smith Insurance and Financial Services have coverage solutions designed to protect you in a wide range of circumstances – including hydroplane collisions. To ensure your coverage protects you in wet weather or to request your very own Big Bend car insurance quote, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.