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Getting a grip on wet roads

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Getting a grip on wet roads

It has been raining for hours but you have to pick up your kids or go to work or get to your doctor's appointment. You have no choice but to drive your car in this gloomy, wet weather. Then as you are driving down a wet section of the road all of a sudden it feels as though your car has a mind of its own. Your car is not possessed by an evil spirit it is hydroplaning. You want to get a grip on this wet road and this article will tell you how.

Hydroplaning can be a scary experience. When your vehicle hydroplanes the tires are no longer in direct contact with the roadway because they are gliding on top of the water that has collected on the road. When a car hydroplanes panic usually sets in with the driver which worsens the situation.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) every year nearly one million vehicle accidents occur in wet weather. Most of these rainy-day collisions are caused by motorists failing to understand the difference between driving on wet compare to dry conditions.

When driving during wet conditions a film of water can form creating an invisible barrier between the roadway and your tires. When hydroplaning this barrier causes your tires to lose traction with the pavement thus gliding over the surface of the water. A combination of tire wear, improper tire inflation and speed of the car plus the amount of water pooled can all contribute to your vehicle hydroplaning.

To drive safely on wet roadways a driver must recognize the demands that the motorist, the vehicle and the tires must cope with.Driving in wet weather is very different than driving on dry pavement but the majority of drivers forget to change their driving method.

Some driving tips to keep in mind during wet weather are:

• Slow down. Do not be in a hurry when it is raining out. Your timeline will be completely ruined if you smash up your car. As you decrease your speed, the tires' tread that contacts the road surface increases. Also at slower speeds you can reduce the risk of hydroplaning if you drive into deeper pooled water on the road.

• Maintain a safe distance from the cars around you. With wet weather you need to be prepared for longer stopping distances. Ease up on the gas earlier than you normally would for stopping at signal lights or stop signs.

• Reduce your speed when you are approaching any sort of large puddle or flooded roadway.

• Try to drive as smoothly as possible. It might be helpful to drive in the tire tracks of the preceding autos.

• Avoid jerky or abrupt movements. This is especially important when braking, accelerating, driving around a curve or turning a corner.

• Turn on your lights. It is required by law but sometimes it is the smallest things we forget to do. This will not only help you see but will help other motorists to see your car on the road.

When a car hydroplanes it is not always the drivers fault. The car might also be to blame. Here are the tips on what you should do to your car so that it ready for wet weather conditions:

• Check your windshield wipers. Replace the current wiper blades with new ones whenever there are any issues with it cleaning the windshield proper.

• Purchase good tires for your vehicle. When buying tires for your car choose the tire that is best suited for wet and dry conditions not just the tire with the lowest price. Many tire manufacturers have come out with tires that are specifically built to cut through water better. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain Firestone's Weathergrip or Michelin's HydroEdge tires might be what you need to invest in.

• Properly maintain your tires. Tires that are properly inflated and well maintained can cut through water and keep traction better than worn or bald tires. Check your tires on a regular basis and replace them when the thread shows tat it is time. Keep an eye on your tires air pressure as well. Both over-inflated and under-inflated tires can cause you problems in wet weather.

If you do begin to hydroplane stay calm. Take your foot off of the accelerator and do not step on the brake pedal. Shift the car into neutral. Let the car slow down so that you can regain control. Grip the steering wheel securely and steer in the direction that you want to go.

Hydroplaning is defined as skidding on a wet surface because a layer of water on the surface causes the tires to lose contact with it. It is not something that you want to feel your car do. It is scary because it takes the control away from the driver.As a driver you need to change your mindset and technique when driving in wet weather. There are also maintenance issues that you can keep on top of so that your vehicle will perform better in wet conditions and get a grip on the road.

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