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It's called hydroplaning. Just like a boat the vehicle tires get up on plane and ride on top of the water at higher speeds. It takes less power to push forward, but you do lose some control and stopping becomes more iffy.

VIN # B0985
No, hydroplaning in a car is called "loosing control and crashing".

At slow speeds a lot of the water clings to the tire as it rotates, at higher speeds more water is evacuated from the tread due to centrifugal force. Combine this with the cooling effect mentioned by Qinsp and it makes sense of your observations.

Keith
 
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