Hydroplaning risk increases with melting snow, ice

Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 20:40:41-04

KALISPELL – Rapid snow and ice melt is leaving puddles of water on the road, making hydroplaning a big issue.

Wesley Long is a disaster risk manager for the Flathead Valley and says the definition of hydroplaning is losing control of your car on a wet surface. He tells MTN that this year, roads are wetter due to the high snow pack and melt.

The biggest issue with hydroplaning comes from speeding cars. Long says it’s much more difficult to control a fast vehicle when it starts hydroplaning.

A car hydroplanes when the pressure in front of the wheel forces water under the tire. This separates the tire from the road with only a thin film of water underneath causing the tire to lose traction.​

“This time of year, when it comes to hydroplaning you might be able to pick out areas in which would give you more trouble than others based on snow melt, how much snow we’ve had over the last couple of months,” Long says.

Long suggests that motorists slow down and give yourself enough time to get to your destination and avoid certain roads with high water.