Source: NBC RightNow
YAKIMA, Wash. – Warmer temperatures are in the forecast which will begin to melt ice and snow off of roadways. This melt-off will leave water on the road which brings forth the concern of hydroplaning.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson called this period of changing conditions “The Big, Great Snow Melt-Off” when he explained how it will affect drivers.
“A hydroplane is when your vehicle’s tires basically lose contact with the pavement and you lose control of your vehicle,” said Thorson.
Hydroplaning can happen on any roadway with standing water. Highways are designed to have water run-off, but large amounts of melt-off can cause water to stand and stay on the road.
In some cases, standing water can reach up to a couple feet deep where the highway may have to be shut down. When faced with standing water, Thorson advises to drive slowly and towards the middle of the road, where the run-off point is designed to be. Ultimately, it is not advised to drive through the water.
“If it’s really deep water, I’d suggest not driving through it and find an alternate route,” said Thorson.
As the ice and snow melts through the day, it leaves moisture on the roads for the night. When temperatures drop, black ice can reemerge for the morning commute.
“If the roadway’s wet and it’s 32 degrees or less outside,” said Thorson. “Pay close attention. You’re going to have to slow way down to avoid not losing control of your vehicle and not crashing.”
Black ice is described as an “equal opportunity provider” by Thorson, meaning it will catch everyone. Regardless of your car, tires or drive mode, black ice can cause you to slide.
It is recommended to slow down and always be prepared for black ice. When hit with black ice, stay calm and steer the car opposite of where the ice is taking it, but be prepared to correct the turn as patches are only a few feet at most.