Ask a Trooper: Can I prevent my car from hydroplaning?

Published 8:45 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Question: I know it has been extremely dry, but with the anticipation of “April showers” can you talk about hydroplaning?

Troy Christianson

Answer: At speeds of 35 mph or less, most tires will “wipe” water off the road surface to keep tires in contact with the road. At higher speeds, water can collect under tires and lift them off the surface of the road — this is called “hydroplaning.”

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When your tires hydroplane, they lose all contact with the road. If this occurs, you will be unable to brake, accelerate or change direction. If your tires begin to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal.

Hydroplaning is less likely to occur at normal highway speeds if your vehicle is equipped with good tires that have deep treads, which will allow water to escape. But hydroplaning can occur at any speed if the depth of the water on the road is greater than the depth of the tire treads. In heavy rain, standard cars may begin to hydroplane at 35 mph.

To prevent hydroplaning, keep your tires in good condition and reduce speed when driving on wet roads.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and of course, drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848; or reach him at,

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.