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First Experience Hydroplaning

Old 06-26-2006, 06:02 AM
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Default First Experience Hydroplaning

Well, if anyone you are on the east coast, around Baltimore, you know how much rain we've been having! I took the car out to get Syriana from the video store in the rain and took a major suburban route home... On my way, one of the streams had overflowed and it was dark, so I hit about 8 inches of water going 35 mph. Not a pleasant experience...

I felt like I had just run over a dead cow, the whole car shuttered and I careened about 50 feet through the new little river that was once a road. (google maps picture of the location)

Then I got into my neighborhood only to be interrupted again by a solid foot of water! I couldn't see it because it was so dark, but all of a sudden, a wave of water was scooped up by my bumper, over the entire hood and windshield. It was very scary, in that I thought for sure the engine would flood. Fearing total engine failure I sped out of the pool that was once an intersection (another map) and onto some high ground. I had to wait for a while to see if I could go further, and luckily the rest of the flooding was only a few inches. Phew, very scary. I will note that through the big pool, the engine sputtered 2 times within a few seconds but there was no other sound or feedback. I'd like to check the engine codes.

I have never seen so much water on a road in my whole life, it was like something I've seen on the news. Had I still have my 94 chevy suburban, I'd be back out there now, haha. Also, if it wasn't so dark, I would have taken some pictures.

Lesson learned, never underestimate water or nature.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:10 AM
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If you ever get a cold air intake, make sure you get a bypass valve so you don't flood the engine.........
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:17 AM
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yeah, had a simmilar experience a few months ago
was on my way to school after a couple days of serious rain, well i didnt see the puddle stretched across both lanes of traffic, i was pretty gloomy, but no rain that day, well i saw it just before i hit in, but i was too late, the whole car started drifting to the left, towards oncoming traffic, i am pulling, but since i am on top of the puddle, moslty i have no traction, so i am about to hit a car on the other side when i finally hit "dry" land and pull real quick over to the right lane,
was real scary, and i dont get scared easily, so i had my heart in my hands
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:29 PM
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Lesson learned, never underestimate water or nature.
Especially the water part. A cubic yard of sea water (lighter than fresh water) weighs 3600 lbs.

As little as an inch of moving water can lift your car and float it to wherever it happens to be going.

It doesn't sound like you atcually hydroplaned tho. Hydroplaning typically happens when there's just wet roads, not roads turned into lakes/rivers. The typcial method of determining that you are hydroplaning is that the car is going in the direction of its forward momentum, without regard to your inputs. i.e., you turn, it keeps going straight/you hit the brakes, it doesn't slow down.
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:51 PM
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Found this and thought it may help clear up any misconceprtions. Note that only about .2" of water is all that is needed to hydroplane.

Hydroplaning is the result of your tires moving FAST across a wet surface - so fast that they do not have sufficient time to channel that moisture away from the center of the tire. The result is that the tire is lifted by the water away from the road and all traction is thus lost.

Of course the word 'fast' is a relative term. Tread design, tread depth, weight of motorcycle, tire pressure, depth of water and even the consistency of that water - (whether it is highly aerated or not, for example) - all play a part in determining at what speed the tire will begin to hydroplane. It is a pretty safe bet to assume that any speed in excess of 60 MPH is fast enough to support hydroplaning regardless of the other variables. This is not to say that at 55 MPH you are safe, however. (A formula that comes close to predicting the speed at which you will hydroplane, assuming at least .2" of water on the ground, is: 10.27 * Sqrt(tire pressure) which shows that if your tires hold 35 psi, hydroplaning can be expected at 60.76 MPH, while tires with 41 psi of air in them should expect hydroplaning at about 65.75 MPH. Another formula that is somewhat more accurate, though much harder to calculate, is: 7.95 * Sqrt(tire pressure * contact patch width / contact patch length). This formula shows that the wider the contact patch is relative to its length, the higher the speed required to support hydroplaning.)

In any event, there are two absolutely essential NO-NO's to remember should you experience the beginning of hydroplaning:

Do NOT apply your brakes

Do NOT try to steer in any direction but straight ahead


This is one of the reasons that jet aircraft have very high tire pressures. They need to be hign enough to minimize the chance of hydroplaning at typical landing speeds.[/quote]
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Old 06-26-2006, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by scionofPCFL
... As little as an inch of moving water can lift your car and float... Hydroplaning typically happens when there's just wet roads...
I see three stages.

Loss of traction occurs when there is enough moisture on the pavement to lubricate the rubber tires and allow them to slip.

Hydroplaning occurs when there is enough water for the tires to plane and lift off the pavement, and depends on enough water to (1) cover any irregularities in the paved surface and (2) exceed the ability of the tire to get that water off the pavement. Might take anywhere from 1/8" to 1", depending the road surface, the weight and speed of the car, and the depth and design of the tread.

Floating occurs when the water displaced by a car equals its weight, and requires partial immersion. Might take a couple of feet of water.
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:05 PM
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Floating occurs when the water displaced by a car equals its weight, and requires partial immersion. Might take a couple of feet of water.
Here's what happens:
you see some water in your way. You think, "it's not that deep, I can make it accross." Well, it's not that deep, but it's moving water. You creep accross. The water may only be an inch deep. It slips under your tire, and breaks your traction and starts pushing on your tire, and then you start moving sideways. If you don't break out, it will eventually push you and your car whereever it's going, which is usually into a very large, very fast moving river. Then we see your dumb butt on the news as rescue divers are trying to pull you from the river before you die. And hopefully no rescuers are killed in the process.
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Old 06-26-2006, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by scionofPCFL
... moving water... may only be an inch deep. It slips under your tire, and breaks your traction and starts pushing on your tire, and then you start moving sideways....
That would be related to the first stage, slipping on wet pavement, and if the water was deep enough, it would be assisted a tiny bit by the third stage of floating. I think it might take more than one inch, though.

The xB has about 5 inches of clearance. Suppose the fast current is 4 incnes deep and coming from the side. A total of about 4 square feet of tire sidewall is being pushed on by maybe 200 lbs per square foot, depending on current velocity. That makes a total side force of 800 lbs, applied to a car that only weighs 2500 lbs resting on water-lubed pavement. The sideforce is enough to overcome the coefficient of friction between tires and submerged pavement, and the car moves.

Then the portion of the tire that is submerged is displacing water and buoying the car up. That might be 25 lbs per tire, or 100 lbs applied to lightening the weight of the car, making it a tiny bit easier for the water to push it sideways.

As the water rises to over 5 inches deep, the water would begin to buoy the body of the car, whiich would become lighter and lighter until it eventually floated. The xB is 85 square feet, and water weighs 7 lbs per cubic foot, so it would take about 4 feet of water above the floor to float the car (85 x 7 x 4 = weight of car).
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Old 06-26-2006, 08:22 PM
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In other words, It doesn't take much to get into a world of trouble when it comes to russhing water.

Keep in mind, the speed of the water relative to the vehicle is what's most important.
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by scionofPCFL
Floating occurs when the water displaced by a car equals its weight, and requires partial immersion. Might take a couple of feet of water.
Here's what happens:
you see some water in your way. You think, "it's not that deep, I can make it accross." Well, it's not that deep, but it's moving water. You creep accross. The water may only be an inch deep. It slips under your tire, and breaks your traction and starts pushing on your tire, and then you start moving sideways. If you don't break out, it will eventually push you and your car whereever it's going, which is usually into a very large, very fast moving river. Then we see your dumb butt on the news as rescue divers are trying to pull you from the river before you die. And hopefully no rescuers are killed in the process.
Turn Around Don't Drown
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:26 AM
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crazy, if it wasnt for hydroplanning i wouldn't have my box. I hydroplanned in my lowered GMC sonoma truck and slammed into the center divide on the freeway and they totalled my truck. sad but true and now im a happy owner of a SRP box. scary feeling though not having any control over ur vehicle. they totalled it coz there was too much frame damage underneath.





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Old 06-27-2006, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by vintage42
... The xB is 85 square feet, and water weighs 7 lbs per cubic foot, so it would take about 4 feet of water above the floor to float the car (85 x 7 x 4 = weight of car).
It bothered me to say it took 4 feet of water to float the car, and I suddenly saw the flaw. A gallon of water actually weighs 8.3 lbs, while a cubic foot has 7.5 gallons and so weighs 62 lbs. So it only takes 6" of water above the floor to float the xB. (85 sq ft of car x 62 lbs/cubic feet of water x .5 feet of water = 2500 lbs weight of car.

And every inch of water above the floor lightens the car by 400 lbs, making it easier and easier for the current to sweep the car off the road. (2500 lbs / 6 inches = about 400 lbs per inch.)
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by w3paint_xA_xB
... if it wasnt for hydroplanning i wouldn't have my box....
If it wasn't for totaling my truck, I might not have gotten a box, either. A year ago my Mazda B2600i was rear-ended and "totalled", I chose to buy it and repair it, and at the body shop I saw a new TCM with the front end pushed in and both airbags out. It was first time I had really looked at an xB, and I began to want one.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:42 AM
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I found that these crap stock tires seem to be a major contributing factor in hydroplaning. They don't do well in wet weather and have always had a tendency to hydroplane where my other vehicles with better quality tires would have not.
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:02 PM
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you're 23 and have only hydroplaned once?
damn.
you need to be on the roads more often.

or do what i have been doing since i was 15, drive your car in EVERY condition possible.
it makes you a better driver.
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:34 PM
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I'm 33, and it's never happened. I drive plenty, including delivering pizzas for a bit when I was younger, and more recently I managed to put 85k on a 2003 F150. There'd be about 45k more if I would have stayed in my previous profession of installing stone countertops.

Maybe it's luck, or good tires, or maybe I just slow the f down when conditions are hairy. I dunno?
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Old 06-27-2006, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by scionofPCFL
I'm 33, and it's never happened. I drive plenty... 85k on a 2003 F150....
I have felt it momentariy but not yet in the xB. My brother did a 180 in his truck on an Interstate and ended up in the median.

The xB tires are not poor quality, they are just not optimized for water. I bought a set of water-pumping tires for my truck once. They would not hydroplane in deep water at high speed, but they had very little traction on wet pavement and snow, and I took them off. The xB tires look like high-quality all-season type.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosh_xB
you're 23 and have only hydroplaned once?
damn.
you need to be on the roads more often.

or do what i have been doing since i was 15, drive your car in EVERY condition possible.
it makes you a better driver.
Well my last truck was a Chevy Suburban and weighed over 8000 lbs and handled very well in the rain and snow. I have slid a number of times on the snow and ice, and skidded many times in the rain, but I've never driven into a puddle so big that it bent my front license plate in half, and sent water over the hood (at 15mph), and don't want to ever again (at least not in a xB). I also drive trucks for the army and used to drive for FedEx so I have all sorts of road experiences--this was a new one.

I agree that the best defense is either slow down or don't go out. I was lucky to get out with an engine unharmed, but I still should have just stayed in, or taken the Toureg V-10 ;)
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by vintage42
... The xB tires are not poor quality, they are just not optimized for water....
I looked them up. People are calling them crap. But they are premium general-purpose all-season touring tires with some anti-hydroplaning feature:
------------------
Goodyear Eagle LS ("Luxury Sport") tires are premium, speed rated performance radials with a heavy design emphasis on a smooth, quiet, disturbance-free ride. This combination of attributes places the Eagle LS tires in our Touring All Season tire category. And while this makes them an appropriate choice for many of today's domestic and imported sporty luxury sedans, Goodyear Eagle LS tires are also used as original equipment on vans, sport utility vehicles and specialty pickup trucks.
On the outside, Eagle LS tires feature a symmetric, independent tread block design that allows al tire rotation patterns to encourage even wear and maximum tread life. Wide circumferential channels help evacuate water from beneath the contact patch to enhance wet traction and reduce the possibility of hydroplaning. The tread design features different sized independent blocks (with the largest on the tire's shoulders) to improve handling, and the tread block sizes are computer optimized to minimize tread noise for a quiet ride. On the inside twin steel belts are further supported by nylon reinforcement (depending on size and speed requirements) to provide high speed durability.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....e1=yes&place=1
--------------------------------
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:30 AM
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I live in Florida and have only once had issuse w/ any sort of traction. Funny enough, the xB I was following spun in the same spot I did so I'm assuming it was a combination of the road paint and another substance making that area slippery.
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