Hydroplaning is a serious issue when you’re driving on wet roads. It can lead to crashes and injuries, so it’s important to take every safety. measure you can to avoid it! Knowing your vehicle’s limits will help you stay safer on the roads and practice greater care where needed, but does 4WD help?
While a 4WD vehicle cannot prevent you from hydroplaning, it can give you more traction. Additional traction will give you better handling, making hydroplaning less of a risk with 4WD than with a typical RWD or FWD. A 4WD vehicle will help control hydroplaning and it’s always better to be careful.
Whether you’re looking for a new vehicle that’s better suited to rainy conditions or you’re just wondering about your current car, read on to find out how a 4WD vehicle handles hydroplaning.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is what happens when your vehicle slides across the road due to wet road conditions. Hydroplaning occurs when there is enough water on the ground to separate your vehicle tires from the asphalt.
Drivers in rainy areas need to be especially careful to prevent hydroplaning.
How much water does there need to be to hydroplane?
There only needs to be .3 cm of water on the road to hydroplane at speeds of 50 MPH or higher, but hydroplaning occurs in other conditions as well.
Any time the road is wet, you need to be cautious of sliding on the road. Of course, the faster you go, the more likely you are to lose traction.
The road itself affects your chances of hydroplaning as well. If the road is slanted, the water is able to drain off and there is less risk of water pooling on the road.
Curves and turns of greater intensity also increase your chances of hydroplaning. In addition to this, it’s always a good idea to be cautious on hills, but especially when it’s wet out.
If it’s currently raining, there is also a much higher chance of hydroplaning. Although the road may be slanted enough to drain the water, the rain beating against the ground may pool enough to cause sliding on the wet roads.
How does it affect my vehicle?
Because of the water and residual oils on the road, your tires separate from the ground, resulting in a loss of traction.
When your tires can’t touch the road, the tread on them can’t grip the ground and create the necessary friction you need to pull the vehicle forward.
This means that when you try to turn the vehicle, the tires turn, but they don’t grip the ground and the vehicle continues in its original direction. This is similar to the way that ice makes a vehicle slide in the same direction as its momentum.
How Does 4WD help in hydroplaning?
When compared to the average 2WD vehicle, the 4WD vehicle has a greater chance of maintaining a grip on the road. But when it comes to tricky road conditions, how does traction apply?
With a typical 2WD vehicle, the only requirement for slippage is two wheels losing traction at once. The other two are coasting along anyway and will slide easily when the first two lose their grip.
Most 4WD vehicles are heavier to begin with because they are built for difficult terrain. They have designs and features that protect the vehicle in more rural areas. They are also usually bigger, which adds weight. They also have weightier drivetrain components that are used to power all four wheels.
Vehicles ready for all-terrain are usually equipped with 4WD. They also typically have wider tires for better grip. With more surface area, they have a higher chance of gripping the asphalt in a wet-road situation. 4WD vehicles are built. to be easy to control in less-than-ideal situations.
What do I do if I’m Hydroplaning?
What does it feel like?
Hydroplaning feels a lot like sliding on an icy road. You lose control of your direction and pressing the brakes has no effect. It’s easy to tell when you’re hydroplaning, but it’s more important to recognize when you’re at risk of hydroplaning and what to do in a hydroplaning situation.
When the road is wet, err on the side of caution. You are at risk of hydroplaning even in a small amount of water. Remember, it technically only takes .3 cm for conditions to be good for hydroplaning. But sometimes, you can tell if hydroplaning is a risk if you experience a brief loss of control. You can feel the tires slip a little and you don’t have control over the direction. These signs should warn you to be very careful and reduce your speed.
What do I do when I’m Hydroplaning?
To prevent hydroplaning in the first place, make sure your car is up to date with all of its service needs and the tire pressures are good. Avoid driving fast on any wet roads and especially in the rain.
Sometimes you will need to drive below the speed limit to be safer and reduce your risk of hydroplaning.
Never brake during a turn. Braking during a turn increases your chance of sliding off the road in dry conditions, but that is increased greatly when the weather is against you. Instead, try to press the brake early and gently. Slamming on the brakes will also increase your chance of sliding.
When you do get caught hydroplaning, there are a few things to do to try to regain control.
If the road is clear and you have room to slide until you regain traction, you are in a lucky spot. Don’t try to steer too swiftly. Quick, jerky movements can cause more skidding and less traction, as can stomping the brake. Once you start to slide, gently try to steer in the direction you want to go and lightly press the brake.
If your vehicle doesn’t respond well, try to get more traction by aligning your steering wheel with the direction your car is traveling and gently try to steer away from there. You can also try pressing lightly on the brakes.
The most important thing to remember is to not panic. Panicking can cause you to make poor decisions. While it’s easier said than done, try your best to remain calm and gently guide your vehicle back to traction.