Heavy rain causes hydroplaning, crashes in the Valley

WYTV talked to the experts about what you can do to protect yourself from sliding out of control in heavy rain

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Heavy rain was likely the cause behind a few crashes in the Valley on Thursday.

There were two crashes on Interstate 680 Thursday morning and one on State Route 422 in Trumbull County, one of which was directly attributed to hydroplaning.

Tire expert Marvin Pancake said the best way to make sure that you are prepared for the rainfall is to make sure your tires have enough tread. You can do so by using the penny trick — if Abraham Lincoln’s head is showing after you stick a penny in the tread, you need new tires.

“They way they’re designed, they have little grooves cut into them called sipes and what that does is disperses the water out to the side, to the front, to rear of the tires. And, once that’s dispersed out, then your tire can actually make contact with the road,” he said. “When you don’t have the tread on it, there’s no siping to disperse the water. Now it’s just flat-hitting the road. Now you get a thin layer of water between the tire and the road, and it lifts your tire off the road. Now you have no control of the vehicle.”

Pancake said low tread may cause a car to slide all over the roadway, but Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers warn that you also have to slow down.

“If you see high water on the roadway, of course, you should try to stop before that and never drive through high water and if you have water on the roadway. You should be definitely going slower than the speed limit,” said Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Wilson.

Wilson said there isn’t much you can do once you start hydroplaning.