Hydroplaning is a jarring experience that includes the loss of control of a vehicle while in motion due to wet roads. It can oftentimes result in an accident when a driver loses control of the vehicle, and the vehicle crashes into another vehicle or a stationary roadway feature, like a guardrail or road sign. Many people think that hydroplaning only occurs at high speeds when there is a lot of water pooled on the roadway, but there are actually three different types of hydroplaning. Explore the different kinds of hydroplaning below to avoid losing control of your vehicle and stay safe on the road.
Different Types of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning does always include a wet roadway, but the amount of water needed to cause the phenomenon to occur is not as much as you think.
Dynamic Hydroplaning. This is the hydroplaning that most people are familiar with. It happens when a vehicle’s tire is completely separated from the roadway by a layer of water while in motion. Usually, a tire’s tread moves water out and away from under the tire as the tire passes over, and some water moves through the cracks and crevices of the pavement, and the tires maintain full contact with the pavement. In dynamic hydroplaning, enough water stays under the tires so they lose contact with the pavement, which results in the loss of control of the vehicle. Dynamic hydroplaning most often occurs when a vehicle is traveling at 45 mph or faster.
Viscous Hydroplaning. This sort of hydroplaning is caused when a pavement is too smooth, either through polishing by traffic or when flushing occurs, which is when the asphalt—the viscous liquid that bonds the aggregates to form asphalt pavement—has bled up through the aggregates to cover large swaths of the pavements surface. Both scenarios mean the roadway’s pavement has too little micro-texture. It only takes a very small amount of water to cause viscous hydroplaning, because the water can’t escape into the texture of the roadway. Hydroplaning can occur at any speed with viscous hydroplaning.
Tire-Tread Rubber Reversion Hydroplaning. This hydroplaning is one experienced by 18-wheelers when the wheels lock up at high speeds on wet roadways that have good macro-texture but not enough micro-texture.
Other issues that contribute to hydroplaning include higher speeds, marginal tires, and low skid resistance. The best option is to reduce speeds when traveling on wet pavements!
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