What is aquaplaning and how can we prevent it?

In some areas, on average, over 100 days are rainy and in others, it rains even 200 days a year, maybe way more in some other parts of the World.

That is why many of us meet or better said, experience the phenomenon of aquaplaning. Where there is excess water on the road, there is the risk of losing control of the car and an accident can occur.
Every driver needs to know what it means to water and especially what to do in such unpleasant conditions. If you know what it is you have a much higher chance of not getting into this situation from the beginning and you can avoid an unwanted accident.

What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning is a phenomenon that occurs when between the car tires and the road a water layer intervenes.

At this moment the grip of the car decreases dramatically because the treads of the tires are no longer in contact with the road or the contact spot is very small. The driver loses control over the brakes, steering, and even acceleration.
It is a very unpleasant situation and it causes quite a lot of accidents so it is good to know what to do when you are in such a situation.

What causes aquaplaning?

It can be caused by the accumulation of excess water on the surface of the road or by holes filled with water or bumps that collect a lot of water. The water layer must be at least 2.5 mm to make the machine waterproof. Aquaplaning is directly influenced by the condition of the tires, the thickness of the tread, but also the speed with which the car moves when it comes into contact with the water layer.

It is said that new tires can remove 10l of water/second. The more used the tires are, the less water they can remove is smaller.

What to do if the car aquaplanes?

When driving in rainy conditions one or more of the following symptoms may occur:

  • You can hear the engine getting louder (the speed of travel is still the same)
  • It feels as if you were pushing on the clutch and the speeds go up to the red limit
  • The steering wheel becomes very soft
  • You have the impression that the back of the car “dances”

 How to control the car if it aquaplanes?

If you feel you are losing control, don’t panic. Follow these steps to control the car:

  • Do not push the brakes to the maximum
  • Easy to take the foot after the accelerator pedal
  • The right steering wheel
  • Turn off the autopilot (if started)
  • When you feel that the car takes control you can start to brake easily

Once you realize that the car has begun to flatten, it is important to stay calm. If you try to turn the car, press hard on the brake or acceleration or pull the steering wheel, when the car passes the area with water and the tires come in contact with the asphalt again, you can cause an accident. It is important to have the right steering wheel and to slow down the travel speed. When you slow down you can feel your tires catch traction again. At this point, it is advisable to continue braking slowly and keep the steering wheel straight until the car returns to a portion without excess water.

If you have the autopilot on, stop it as soon as possible. In many cars, it stops when you press the brake pedal or step on the clutch. If this is not the case with your car, turn it off.

How to avoid aquaplaning?

There are some tips you can follow to avoid aquaplaning. Tips that relate to your driving technique but also the technical condition of the car:

  • Check the condition of the tires
  • Do not drive with speed in humid conditions
  • Avoid sudden actions
  • You are always careful

Useful tips to avoid aquaplaning.

In addition to the tips above, below you can read in detail tips that help you in situations of excess water on the road.

Understand traffic conditions

Every time you go on a long road check the weather conditions, it helps you to know in advance what you will be breastfeeding. Adapt your driving style and speed to the weather conditions, slow down the car to the point where you feel you are 100% in control of the car.

Adapt speed

Your tires have a much lower chance of coming in contact with the asphalt when you go in the rain if the speed is too high.
There are no limits to aquaplaning as speed, because not only does speed influence the phenomenon. From what I have researched, an average car aquaplanes after 60 km / h if the tires come in contact with water deeper than 2-3 cm.
Remember that braking distances increase in rainy conditions, so adjust speed and do not brake suddenly.

Keep the tires in optimum conditions

As I said above, besides water and speed, tire quality and wear can influence the phenomenon of aquaplaning. Check the tire condition constantly and check their pressure every time you go a long way. You can check their pressure at any gas station.


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