What is aquaplaning?: Tips to avoid it


Published 23/03/2020
que es el aquaplaning y como se evita

Surely if you’ve ever driven in the rain, you will have noticed how your car loses stability and grip due to aquaplaning. This phenomenon causes the car to lose control, and once hydroplaning has started, nothing can stop it. It is one of the main causes of accidents on rainy days or where there are adverse weather conditions. But what is aquaplaning and how can we avoid it?

What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning or hydroplaning is a physical phenomenon that causes the wheels on your car to lose contact with the road. This dangerous effect occurs due to an accumulation of water in front of the tyres. The tyre’s responsiveness when coming into contact with the layer of water has three stages depending on the vehicle’s speed:

  • Low speed: The tyres hit the water, but the tread manages to flush it out.
  • Average speed: By increasing the speed, the water accumulates in front of the tyres at a higher pressure: one part is flushed out by the outside of the groove and the other part by the tread.
  • High speed: The pressure value of the sheet of water is higher than the wheel’s weight value. This causes a loss of contact between the tyre and the tarmac, and this is when the dreaded aquaplaning takes place.

What is aquaplaning

Tips to avoid aquaplaning

To avoid the risk of aquaplaning we recommend that you take the following tips into account.

Careful with the speed

Sharp changes in speed are your worst enemy. Drive smoothly and moderately on rainy days. This will help you to avoid aquaplaning. Remember that even a milimetre of water is able to lift up your car, and sometimes when it is not raining, there can be water on the tarmac. That’s why, when it is raining or the tarmac is wet, we recommend you reduce your speed.

Don’t make sharp turns

As we have explained, aquaplaning causes instability when steering your car. At this point, it is important to keep calm and not make sharp turns with the wheels; it is better to keep it still and steady. If you are on a bend, turn the wheel just enough to take it.

Good tyre maintenance

Knowing when you need to change the tyres on your vehicle and how to maintain them properly has a decisive impact on your safety. Therefore, you should perform the following checks:

  • Tyre tread design: Avoid cheap, low performance tyres and check that there are treads for the rain that are specially designed to channel off the water.
  • Tyre tread depth:Continued use of the wheels gradually lessens the depth of the tread. This translates into a higher possibility of experiencing aquaplaning at speeds as low as 5 and 7 km/h. Rememebr that the tread must have a minimum depth of 1.6 mm.
  • Tyre pressure:It is advisable to check the tyre pressure periodically to ensure the car’s top performance. For example, if we fill the tyres below 2 pressure bars, the braking distance can increase considerably.

Therefore, remember that the direct consequences of aquaplaning are losing control of the vehicle and increasing the braking distance. To avoid it don’t forget to stick to a steady and moderate speed, without turning the wheel. Also, when you go to put petrol in, check the pressure and wear on the tyres.

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