This time of year we see not only the changing of the leaves, crisp air, but also rain. Lots and lots of rain. As Washingtonians, we’re used to driving for these kinds of conditions, however, that doesn’t mean we are exempt from experiencing something called hydroplaning.

What is Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning occurs when your vehicle’s tries become separated from the road surface by a thin layer of water, resulting in loss of traction and control.

While it’s always a good idea to avoid standing water and large puddles on the road if possible, it’s also important to note that hydroplaning can occur even when the roads are just slightly damp.

With Washington weather being as wet as it is, hydroplaning is a very real (and scary) possibility.

How to Avoid Hydroplaning
There are a few tips and precautions you can take before you hit the road:
• Make sure you’re tires are properly inflated, rotated, and have the correct tread depth
• Stay away from puddles and standing water
• Turn off cruise control
• Drive in a low gear
• Once you’re driving, be sure to slow down and increase your following distance

How to Recover from Hydroplaning
Trooper Travis Joyce explains how to recover if you experience hydroplaning:

Step 1: Immediately take your foot off the accelerator. Your first instinct may be to slam on the brakes. Don’t. Sudden breaking on a slick road can cause your car to skid out of control.

Step 2: Gently steer towards the direction of where you want to go. This helps your tires realign with the direction your vehicle is traveling.

Step 3: Wait for your vehicle to regain traction. Remember to keep your foot off the accelerator until you completely regain control.