Chicago may be known as the windy city. But from spring to late fall, it sees a fair amount of rain. While some motorists may feel thrilled that the long and brutal Illinois winters are over, they can still face substantial risks in the upcoming months.
One of the biggest risks is hydroplaning. It typically occurs when a car’s tires can’t keep up with the water beneath it, separating the wheels from the road’s surface. Unfortunately, this can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles and possibly crash.
What causes hydroplaning?
Water from wet streets can mix with oil residue on its surface, making for slippery conditions. It can be especially dangerous after just 10 minutes of light rain. If people are driving below 35 mph, their risk of getting in a crash may be lower. But drivers traveling above that speed could put themselves and others in grave danger if they’re not careful.
Tips to avoid catastrophe
Once hydroplaning starts, it can be tough to stop, as conventional braking methods may make matters worse. Luckily, there are a couple of things they can do to avoid disaster:
- Properly maintain tires: Tire grooves typically help vehicles keep steady friction on slippery roads. But to do so, a vehicle’s tires must be properly inflated. One way drivers can test this is by sticking a penny upside-down in the grooves. If motorists can see all of Lincoln’s head, they may want to get new tires.
- Avoid making sharp turns: As hydroplaning can lead to loss of control, drivers should take extra precaution around sharp street corners. Especially if they’re driving down busy streets like N. Michigan Ave.. If they don’t, they won’t be the only people feeling the adverse effects of hydroplaning.
While nothing compares to the agony winter driving can cause, Chicago motorists should still take precaution during these rainy months. If someone does get hurt due to the negligence of another driver, there is help available.