Monsoon season in Pakistan is always challenging, as there is no proper rain drainage system. One of the dangers is known as “Hydroplaning or Aquaplaning”
Hydroplaning or aquaplaning is a phenomenon, regarding the tires of the aircraft, road vehicles and other wheeled vehicles, when a layer of water builds between the wheels of vehicle and road surface, leading to decrease and loss of traction, which prevents the vehicle from responding to control inputs.
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When we drive in rain, we all might have experienced this phenomenon. This effect is similar to that of water skiing. The water is pushed outward when the tire rotates and makes contact on the surface of a wet road. However, when the rotational speed of the tire increases, enough water is unable to push outward resulting in the accumulation of a thin layer of water on the tires. Due to this, the vehicle can lose its control and traction and slip or even crash can occur. The phenomenon of hydroplane by a vehicle is increased if the speed of the vehicle goes above 80km/hr.
Due to hydroplaning, your vehicle is not under your control, especially the direction of the vehicle. You can steer left or right, however, the car isn’t in contact with the road thus, control on direction is lost. In fact, for a heavy car, hitting the car’s brakes may often lead to severe fatalities since the hydroplaning effect is increased.
Even though the hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface but, the first 10 minutes are most dangerous even in light rain. Therefore, even a slight accumulation of water in those first 10 minutes can provide a perfect condition for a car to slip. The grease accumulation on the tire of the car can further increase this hydroplaning effect.
Therefore, following are some of the recommendations and safety measures which you should be opting while driving on a wet road.
- First and foremost, the tires of your vehicle should be in perfect condition. They should have an acceptable depth of tread and should be perfectly inflated.
- After every 10,000 km, you must go for wheel alignment and wheel balancing as this will help in proper traction of tires during the rainy season.
- Replace your tires when they wear out.
- Make sure that wipers and exterior lights are in good working condition.
- Switch on the headlights while driving in a rain.
- Reduce the speed while driving in rain in order to control the hydroplaning effect.
- Be careful while applying brakes in the rain since the braking distance increases 4 times and slip may occur. Even if your vehicle is equipped with Anti-lock braking system and Vehicle Stability Control still these systems are no 100% efficient in the rain.
- Don’t panic and neither apply brakes suddenly if you feel hydroplane or slip instead, keep your hands on the steering and avoid accelerating or braking. In fact, slowly try to take your foot off from the accelerator paddle.
- Avoid abrupt braking, hard braking and accelerating in case of hydroplaning otherwise fatalities may occur. In fact, it is strongly recommended NOT to apply brakes suddenly when the road is wet.
- Since due to rain there would accumulation of water at the extreme left or right side of the road, therefore avoid driving in these extreme lanes.
- Stay alert while driving on the wet road and reduce the speed when approaching a road where water is accumulated.
- Avoid sharp turns.
- Avoid using cruise control when driving in rain.
- Use defogger so that there is no foggy screen, otherwise, it’ll make driving even more difficult.
- In order to improve traction follow the track made by the vehicles ahead of you since the volume of water accumulation shall be relatively less there.
- Avoid driving close to the vehicles ahead of you while it’s raining.
- Maintain a proper distance with the vehicles ahead of you so that have a better visibility of the road. This distance will not only help in driving but would also avoid accidents since slip if occur it may lead to the chain of accidents if there are many vehicles close to each other.
- Drive carefully and slowly when passing through pedestrians or people on motorbikes to avoid splashing water on them. Be courteous to them and follow traffic rules.
- Avoid unnecessary travel in such weather. ,
- Drive safely, wear a seat belt and be alert while driving for most of the accidents occurs due to the negligence of driver for not only overspeeding but a careless driving in unfavourable weather conditions.
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