Guidance to Predict and Mitigate Dynamic Hydroplaning on Roadways

Roadways are designed, operated, and maintained with a goal of achieving the highest possible safety outcomes. With safety as their top priority, transportation officials are responsible for the careful management of public resources and effective risk assessment. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire loses contact with water-covered pavement by the actions of water pressures that build up with increasing vehicle speed. Transportation practitioners have observed that available methods for predicting hydroplaning potential imply a greater likelihood of hydroplaning occurrences than are reported in crash data. Additionally, there is inadequate guidance on how to effectively plan and implement strategies to mitigate the impacts of hydroplaning for site-specific conditions, such as geometric design, and different project types (e.g., new construction, reconstruction, or maintenance/retrofit projects). More thorough and up-to-date guidance is needed to identify the potential for, reduce the occurrence of, and mitigate the impacts of dynamic hydroplaning on roadways. To develop this guidance, research is needed to identify and address the factors contributing to hydroplaning and how these factors interact. These factors may include, but are not limited to, hydraulics, roadway characteristics, vehicle characteristics, and driver behavior. A clearer understanding of how these factors contribute to hydroplaning could result in safety improvements, fewer crashes, and savings. The methods that are widely used to predict hydroplaning potential need to be evaluated and updated. These methods include the PAVDRN program, developed in NCHRP Project 01-29, "Improved Surface Drainage of Pavements" (1998). Changes have occurred since the methods were developed that could either increase or decrease the likelihood of hydroplaning and crashes on roadways, including, but not limited to the following: (1) The number of lanes on roadways have increased; (2) Design and posted speeds on roadways have increased; (3) Vehicles have changed (although vehicles are often lighter which makes them more vulnerable to hydroplaning, recent features reduce the likelihood of hydroplaning such as antilock brakes, stability controls, and front- or all-wheel drive); and (4) Tire designs have improved with increased sizes and wheel widths, higher tire pressures, better tread design, and greater use of radial tires. The objective of this research is to develop guidance to predict and mitigate hydroplaning on roadways. The term "hydroplaning" in this research is limited to dynamic hydroplaning only, and does not include other forms of hydroplaning, such as viscous or rubber reversion hydroplaning. The guidance should be applicable to all types of roadways, including site-specific factors such as geometric design, and be appropriate for new construction, reconstruction, and maintenance/retrofit projects. The guidance should: (1) Address the hydraulics, roadway characteristics, vehicle characteristics, driver behavior, and other factors that contribute to hydroplaning on roadways; (2) Include an updated and validated methodology(s) to predict hydroplaning potential on roadways; (3) Provide methods and strategies for planning and design of roadways to mitigate hydroplaning; (4) Provide methods and strategies to reduce hydroplaning on existing roadways; and (5) Identify driver-related factors that contribute to crashes associated with hydroplaning and recommend operational strategies to mitigate these crashes.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $500000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 15-55

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    208 Patton Hall
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Flintsch, Gerardo

  • Start Date: 20150617
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190101
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37549

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543353
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 15-55
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 13 2014 1:01AM