Have you ever skidded while driving on a wet road for a second or even longer? Even if you didn’t lose complete control, you most likely experienced “Aquaplaning”.
Many of us drive on daily basis and every day there is a new learning for all of us. So in this article, I will be discussing the concepts of Aquaplaning or Hydroplaning.
What Is Aquaplaning?
The term Aquaplaning or Hydroplaning is commonly used to refer the skidding or sliding of a car’s tire’s across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Tires are developed to utilize the centrifugal force to channel the water through its treads. As a result, the water goes under the tire and separates it from the road via a very thin film of the water layer. If your vehicle is transversing at a higher speed then its tires can dissipate the water, then the accumulation of water pressures can result in an erratic control over brakes and steering, which in other words means ‘Out-of-Control’. While aquaplaning your car rides over water just like a Water skier on a lake.
Rubber tires have Treads (Grooves) on it, these grooves are designed in a way that water does not accommodate in it, in fact, it channels water out of it to create maximum friction with the road which enhances its road grip. Usually, Aquaplaning occurs above 55 km/hr of speed but keep it in mind Aquaplaning can occur below this speed as well if tires of your vehicle are worn out or not of good quality.
When Does Aquaplaning Occurs?
There are several factors which contribute in putting you in a situation of danger. Let’s discuss those factors one by one for more clarity.
- Light Rain
- Heavy Rain
- Vehicle’s Speed
- Tire’s Condition (especially Treads or Grooves)
- Depth of water
Light Rain- Aquaplaning can occur on any wet road surface. However, the first 10 minutes of a light rain can be most dangerous and have maximum chances of Aquaplaning. It’s because when light rain mixes with oil residue on road it forms a sludge and creates a slippery surface and that’s extremely dangerous and especially vehicles moving with speed of 55 Km/hr or above.
Hydroplaning can occur when it’s raining heavily and your vehicle is running at a reasonable high speed and water is intersecting your tires. Water on the roadway accumulates in front of your vehicle’s tires faster in a way that the weight of your vehicle is pushed out of its way and causes Aquaplaning.
High speed is one of the main factors which creates chances of Aquaplaning because, at higher speeds, the driver can loose control over steering. Sudden braking on a slippery or wet surface results in Aquaplaning. In short higher the speed, lesser will be the wet traction.
Condition Of Tires-
The condition of tires plays a major role in avoiding your vehicle from Hydroplaning. Tire’s treads are made in a way that when tires move over water tire puts pressure on water and it channels out from its grooves. In short, it avoids water to make a film between road and tire so that your vehicle sustains its stability. In case tires are worn out .i.e grooves and treads are worn out as shown in the above picture, the tire will loose its purpose because worn out tires will reduce its ability to grip and can cause Aquaplaning.
Depth Of Water- This factor is one of the main factors which can severely put your vehicle into the state of Aquaplaning. Deeper the water, sooner will you loose traction. Even on low speeds your vehicle can loose its grip and can go into the state of Aquaplaning.
How To Avoid Aquaplaning?
First of all, how will you come to know that your vehicle is going through Aquaplaning? It’s actually hard to tell what exactly you will feel while Aquaplaning. But let me tell you some possible symptoms:
- The rear end of your vehicle may feel loose, you will feel like it’s slipping in right direction or left direction.
- Steering of your vehicle may be felt very loose or little easy than before.
- Never apply brakes while aquaplaning as it will immediately result in slippage and you will end up loosing all control of your car.
- Never Steer while this situation, hold steering firmly and try to keep the car in a straight direction.
- As soon you feel your vehicle is in Aquaplaning state, immediately take off your feet from accelerator pedal so that your vehicle begins to slow down.
- Do not gear down your car, keep it in whatever gear it is, for instance, if you are in 5th gear when Aquaplaning started and to decrease speed you put your vehicle in 3rd gear to reduce speed, this action would work same as applying brakes and you know this would obviously result in accumulation of traction.
- If you go through this situation and you have to apply brakes anyway then apply brakes gently and apply in light pumping actions (This action step is for Non-ABS cars).
- Wet and rocky terrain tends to deliver aquaplaning to novice drivers, so it is important to slow down and use the gear appropriately.
Choosing The Best Performance Tires For Aquaplaning
As you all know, tires play a major role in your car’s drive. Either it’s driving comfort or road grip a good quality and branded tire fulfills your all requirements. All tires manufacturers design a tire considering all possible factors in mind. Limiting my topic to Aquaplaning always choose a tire having:
- Having good tread pattern.
- Having at least 3mm to 4mm of tread or grooves depth because good depth keeps your tire intact with road and deep tread pattern expels water easily from it and keep your vehicle stable and minimize chances of Aquaplaning.
Please go through above-shared video for further clarification regarding Aquaplaning.