KSN Storm Track 3 Digital Extra: How much rain it takes to hydroplane

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With a damp end to the work week, this will likely slow down drivers. Anybody hitting the road to enjoy the weekend will need to allow extra travel time. Even though severe weather and flooding are not expected, hydroplaning will still be a threat. Hydroplaning is when water causes tires to lose traction, or contact with the road. This means that the driver could lose control of the vehicle. Hydroplaning can last an instant or seconds.

It does not take much rain for this to happen. Showers need to produce more than a tenth of an inch and we are expecting more than that across the area into the weekend.

Once the driver hits speeds of 35 MPH or greater, and hydroplaning is a possibility. The first 10 minutes after a light rain starts are the most dangerous and when you are more likely to hydroplane. As the surface continues to get wet, it can be just as slick as ice while you are driving.

During a stretch of dry days, oil and grease that leak from our vehicles collect on the pavement. Once it rains, the water mixes with the oil which creates slick conditions and the potential for hydroplaning. Those first 10 minutes after a light rain are once again the most dangerous. As rain continues to wet the surface, and if it is heavy, it will help wash away those fluids.

Avoiding hydroplaning is just as simple as being aware of what is happening around you. If it is raining or the road is wet, do not make any sharp or quick turns. The best way to keep your vehicle in your control is to slow down. The faster you go, the harder it is for your tires to displace water in front of and beneath them.

-Meteorologist Ronelle Williams

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