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What to do if your car hydroplanes

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It’s an awful feeling. You’re driving on wet pavement and suddenly your car begins to slide on its own. What you are experiencing is called hydroplaning. Your car is losing traction and separating from the road due to water buildup under your tires.

First of all, don’t panic. That could lead to an accident. Remain calm and follow the advice from   DefensiveDriving.com, which could save your life and the lives of your passengers.

Many drivers’ first instinct when their car begins to hydroplane is to hit the brakes. However, that’s the worst thing you can do. Slamming on the brakes will only make you spin out uncontrollably because it locks the rear tires.

If your car has front-wheel drive, with or without ABS and traction control, or rear-wheel drive with ABS and traction control, aim your steering wheel toward any open space to your front or side and keep your foot lightly on the accelerator, says Defensive Driving.

If, on the other hand, you’re driving a vehicle without ABS and traction control, look for an open area but slowly take your foot off the accelerator and aim toward that space.

It’s also important to note that if you’re driving in heavy rain do not use your cruise control, adds Defensive Driving. The water will slow your car down, causing the cruise control to kick into a lower gear and allowing more water to accumulate under your tires.

One important way to avoid hydroplaning is to make sure your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread so they’ll hug the road better in wet conditions. Check it by inserting a quarter into the tread with George Washington’s head upside down. If you can see the top of his head above the tread it’s time to replace your tires.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com