Canadians are used to driving in any weather, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We buy snow tires, cars with all-wheel drive and try our best to avoid the roads in snow storms and ice storms.
Yet, despite all of this, we often don’t think twice about choosing to drive or implementing safe driving practices when it is raining.
Cruise control can be a really useful feature for long drives; however, it is one of the most dangerous things to use when in a rainstorm. When it is raining or if the roads are wet, cruise control can force the driver to lose control of their car and make their car hydroplane.
Wet roads are dangerous because the rainwater forces the oil and grease on the streets to rise to the top of the water. The road becomes a slippery surface that mimics icy road conditions. The car launches into hydroplaning when the tires cannot tread through the water fast enough.
The scary part is that you do not even have to be driving fast for a car to hydroplane. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 56 kmph.
Cruise control increases the chance of hydroplaning because the feature maintains a consistent speed. In most cars, the feature can be disabled by hitting the brakes, but by doing this, it can make the skidding worse, especially if you don’t have anti-locking brakes.
What to do?
If you find yourself in this situation, take your foot off the gas immediately and grasp the steering wheel with both hands. Force the car to steer towards the direction of the skid. Once you have regained control of the vehicle, you can correct the alignment of the wheel and re-center the car into the lane.
Most modern vehicles do have traction control systems in place that are designed to avoid dangerous hydroplaning on wet roads. Some older vehicles do not have these systems implemented. Despite this, every vehicle’s cruise control system varies, to be safe, turn off cruise control and reduce speed when it is raining, or when the roads are wet.
In short, the next time you or someone you love is driving in a rainstorm, please disable cruise control and lower your speed, because the world needs more Canadians!
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