What to do if you experience hydroplaning - New York News

What to do if you experience hydroplaning

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MESA, Ariz. -

Monday, ADOT cameras on the 101 near Warner captured the driver of a pickup losing control, spinning, striking the median. Hydroplaning on the wet highway. It happens all too often in the valley when it rains.

We got a feel for what's it's like behind the wheel when it does.

Your heart is pumping. You panic, grab the steering, moving it from left to right. But you can't gain control of your vehicle and you crash.

It's a frightening feeling, one I experienced today thanks to Arizona DPS and the Mesa Police department.

It's a high speed test. A wet skid pad. A simulated driving condition. Similar to what valley residents have been experiencing for the past few days.

"We see fatal crashes, we see people lose control and roll over, people have died in circumstances where weather was a factor," says DPS Officer Carrick Cook.

DPS Officer Carrick Cook, one of the drivers in this exercise, says the agency responded to well over two dozen crashes at one time on Monday.

"These people, they encounter wet roads with oil that's usually on top of that so they lose control of the car."

Tom Gussie, a driving coordinator for the Mesa Police Department, demonstrated how quickly and easily drivers lose control in rainy conditions.

"And you can see what happened to the car, we just hydroplaned on the water."

Then it was my turn.

Reaching speeds of nearly 50 miles an hour, braking in standing water -- made it almost impossible to stop the car instantly. The reason, our instructor says, accidents occur.

"Get off the accelerator, that's going to help number one," says Gussie.

Experts also suggest keeping a safe distance and your eyes on the road to stay safe when it rains.

"A lot of the circumstances we saw could have probably been avoided should people have taken the appropriate actions," says Officer Cook.

We were out driving at the Mesa public safety training facility, a controlled environment. That's obviously not the case out in the real world, so the bottom line -- slow down when there's a downpour.

Tip from ADOT: If you feel you are hydroplaning, ease your foot off the gas pedal until you regain traction. Do not brake suddenly. If you are sliding or drifting, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction of your slide.

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