NewsOperation Safe Roads


Valley driving school shares tips to steer clear of hydroplaning during a monsoon storm

Winter Weather Michigan
Posted at 5:20 AM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 08:25:48-04

Monsoon storm chances are moving back into your Most Accurate Forecast this weekend and into next week. Are drivers prepared to hit the road when the rain starts coming down?

Operation Safe Roads wanted to ensure commuters are aware of how to steer clear of dangerous hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is when water creates a barrier between a vehicle's tires and the road. This often results in drivers losing control of the vehicle.

We reached out to the experts at DrivingMBA to get behind the wheel of their simulation which allows participants to experience the feeling of hydroplaning, without the potentially severe consequences.

Instructors asked ABC15 Mornings Traffic Anchor Megan Thompson to start the first practice round on the rainy virtual roads by traveling at a normal freeway speed of about 65 miles per hour.

FULL SECTION: Operation Safe Roads

"Now, you can tell you're hydroplaning if you start to slide or if your wheels start to shake," one of the instructors explained.

At that high rate of speed, we were unable to stop the car in time before a crash occurred.

Arizona law states that drivers should reduce their speed when driving in bad weather. DrivingMBA instructors suggest drivers drop speeds at least one-third of what the posted speed limit is. So, if a speed limit is 65 miles per hour, they suggest going 45 miles per hour.

The second round at the lower speed proved to be a lot more successful -- we were able to stop the vehicle in time in the rainy weather before causing a crash.

"Once you experience it and you see the difference - you feel the difference... then you know, 'Wow, this really does work.' So, that's why we do it that way," said Maria Wojitczak.

Wojitczak is the owner of DrivingMBA and she said her instructors teach Valley drivers about how speed makes all the difference in attempting to prevent hydroplaning in the first place.

"You want to slow it down by removing your foot from the accelerator," Wojitczak explained. "If you slam on the brake, you're likely to go into a skid."

If a driver does feel like they are in trouble, try to stay calm and steady to keep from swerving.

"Steer in the direction you originally wanted to go," Wojitczak said.

If a driver would like to learn more about simulation and on-the-road education, click here.