Dealing with sticky driving situations

Posted by: Cal on 13/08/2013

Category: General

Nobody wants to get into a sticky situation while they're driving, but it's important to recognise that dangers are real and can strike at any time - so it's best to be prepared and know what you're up against.

For example, have you heard of hydroplaning, sometimes also known as aquaplaning? This can be a frightening occurrence, and happens when a layer of water between the road and your car tyres leads your vehicle to lose traction and start sliding across the road. Because it's still winter and the roads are more wet than usual, it's a good idea to be aware of this danger that can have serious consequences.

Step one is to avoid hydroplaning in the first place, by driving more slowly and carefully during periods of rain. Risk factors for hydroplaning include deeper water and higher speeds, lower tread depth, wider tyres and light vehicles, as well as less efficient tread designs on the tyres. All cars, no matter what make they are and no matter what tyres they're fitted out with - are able to lose control on a wet surface and hydroplane. Directional tread tyres however are the most efficient at getting water out of your tyres' way.

But what about a tyre blowout? This is when your car tyre seems to burst and lose pressure. These blowouts can sometimes happen when the tyre doesn't have enough air pressure in the first place, and it overheats and - well, you know the rest.

Blowouts can also happen due to damage to the tyres from instances of 'kerbing', an overloaded car, or a puncture or cut in the rubber. While you're driving a hiss of air may be one of the first signs that something is wrong - otherwise you might be alerted to the blowout simply by a loud bang and a sudden loss of control of your vehicle. Once you've realised what's going on, you can maintain some control of the vehicle by carefully steering to counteract the blown tire and then pulling over safely to change your tyre or call for help. 

Remember, the road is a hazardous place so you need to maintain your vehicle and its tyres to a high standard to have the best chance against any obstacles.