Skidding, Hydroplaning, and Do You Need New Tires? Take the Penny Test.

Skidding and Hydroplaning.

Different and yet, both bad options.

Apples and Oranges.

Different and yet, both fruits.

Skidding – Skidding is most likely to occur after rain, sleet, ice, or snow has muddled the roadways. Roads become considerably dangerous at the beginning of accumulation–mostly because drivers do not anticipate worsened conditions at the beginning of a storm.

Hydroplaning – Where there is standing water on the road there is also high risk for hydroplaning. If the tire cannot squeeze out the water between treads, the tires will coast across the pool of water, losing all friction with the road.

How do we avoid these situations?

  • Don’t drive when skidding or hydroplaning seems a likely possibility. Unless of course you have to; in that case, please be careful.
  • Check the depth of the tread on your tires. A simple way is by sticking a penny between the treads. If the top of Abe’s head is visible, your treads are too thin. You need new tires.
  • Know whether you have standard or anti-lock brakes. Standard brakes are not designed to stop your car in a skid. When you lock up standard brakes, you lose steering. If you slam on standard brakes, you make the situation worse and your car will spin out of control. So, if your car is equipped with standard brakes, DO NOT APPLY THE BRAKES until you have regained control of steering and your car has started to slow down on its own.
  • “Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are designed to prevent losing control of the car in a skid situation. They do this through use of a computer that detects when a tire is turning faster (trying to grip the surface) and applying pressure independently to each individual brake up to 20 times a second. This allows you to slow the vehicle while still being able to steer to avoid a collision. With the brakes pulsing that rapidly, the driver will feel a fluttering in the brake pedal. Unfortunately, many drivers, who are unfamiliar with ABS, feel this and think something is wrong and take their foot off the brakes. That is a big mistake! When applying anti-lock brakes in a skidding situation, you should expect to feel the brakes fluttering under your foot and understand that the system is operating correctly.” (National Safety Commission)
  • NEVER USE CRUISE CONTROL in the rain. If you go into a skid and your tires start to spin, Cruise Control get confused because you are not moving, so they increase the speed to get back up to the set speed- which might be really high if you are traveling on a highway!

Oh boy. I’m skidding. Now what?

  • Take your foot off the gas! Again, you shouldn’t be using cruise control.
  • If your car is equipped with standard brakes, do not apply the brakes. If you were applying the brakes when you started to skid, take your foot off the brakes.
  • If your car is equipped with ABS, apply firm pressure to the brakes. You will still maintain control of steering while the brakes are applied.
  • Steer the car in the direction of the skid. In other words, if the rear of your car is skidding to the left, turn your wheel to the left. Try not to look at the hazards but instead, look at where you want to steer the car and keep steering in that direction until you have regained control of the car.
  • Once you have regained full control of steering and the car has slowed on its own, you may be able to apply standard brakes effectively to bring your car to a stop. (National Safety Commission)

Source: (National Safety Commission)

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2 Responses to Skidding, Hydroplaning, and Do You Need New Tires? Take the Penny Test.

  1. […] Skidding, Hydroplaning, and Do You Need New Tires? Take the Penny Test. ( […]

  2. […] So, despite taking the regular safety precaution of seatbelt and airbag, the driver was still injured in this crash. For tips on how to drive safely in these conditions, click here. […]

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