Aquaplaning: What it is and what to do to avoid accidents

With the  winter coming the first rains arrive. It is in these conditions that we must redouble our attention on the road, not only because the first rains release oils and debris accumulated on the road, but also with aquaplaning. This phenomenon, also known as hydroplaning, causes the car to lose traction and slide over the water and, consequently, lose control of the vehicle.


What is aquaplaning?

If we dissect the term aquaplaning this leads us to the definition of sliding on water, but there is more behind it. Let’s go in parts: first, aquaplaning can occur  when the tire cannot release the water that arrives there and therefore the water accumulates underneath it. When this happens the tire rubber and the asphalt are no longer in contact and that is where the real danger comes in: losing control of the vehicle and being unable to brake or even control the direction of the tire.



Aquaplaning indicator signs

There are several indicator signs that you are sliding over the water. Here are some examples:

  • Hear more of the engine sound when acceleration is maintained.
  • Feel the “lightest” direction.
  • Feel like you’re losing control of the of the car.


What to do in case of aquaplaning: 4 steps to control

1. Take your foot off the vehicle accelerator

By doing this, the car will slow down by the force of inertia and with lower speed the tires will dissipate the water from the road better.


2. Avoid speeding up

Acceleration causes it to accumulate even more water under the tires and is intended to be the exact opposite.


3. Do not carry with your foot on the brake

Brake operation is only useful when there is grip between the asphalt and the tire. The non-traction tire makes braking ineffective and can further lose control of the vehicle.


4. Do not make sudden movements

The changes in direction cause you to lose control even more.


Aquaplane how to avoid

There is no foolproof formula of not going through aquaplaning but there are ways to avoid it. The main one is based on preventive maintenance of the vehicle and it is advisable to check the pressure and wear of the tires. We must be aware of the depth of the stretch marks so that the water is diverted through these channels. In any case, defensive driving should be adopted,  with reduced speeds that are also essential in these types of adverse conditions.


The tire-road ratio

The aquaplaning shows the importance of the good condition of the tires and the road. These two players have equal importance, but it is only possible to control one of them: tires. For starters, we should know which tires we  should buy, as well as what pressure  is the  indicated by the brand. Both points have their share in this equation, and we must always follow these indications that depend on the cargo and the number of passengers in the car.

Now moving to the uncontrollable part, the road, you should choose, if possible, the ones that are in the best condition and, in case of rain, avoid the water sheets  formed during this type of weather.



5 Tips for driving with rain

1. Safety distance

It is advisable to give safety distance from the vehicle that is moving ahead. However, with rain this should be mandatory so that you can see the vehicle braking.


2. Defrosted glasses

Good visibility is central in rainy conditions and defog the glasses should be a care to take.


3. Turn on the fog lights

One of the teachings in driving schools is the “see and be seen”. Therefore, in these conditions, turning on the fog lights to see and be seen becomes the rule.


4. Avoid emergency braking

Avoiding sudden braking is complemented by safety distance and speeds well below the limit.


5. Speed limits

Even if it travels below the speed limit, it doesn’t mean it’s correct. The speed must be adapted to the weather conditions, and, in this, we must reduce the speed even further.

In the way of completion, aquaplaning can occur whenever you do not have proper care, but it is avoidable with proper precautions. Move safely!

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