Aquaplaning, also referred to as hydroplaning, happens when water between the road and your tyres won’t come off fast enough. This water layer accumulates in front of your tyres. Once the water pressure exceeds that of the tyre pressure on the road, your tyres will lose contact with the surface.
Because of this traction loss, your wheels will slip and your car won’t be able to accelerate, steer or brake. This can result in losing control of your car, or the vehicle spinning or skidding — a potentially hazardous, even fatal, situation.
The car experts from Tyresperth.com.au say tyres are critical to your safety on the road. To reduce the risk of your vehicle aquaplaning, have your tyres inflated routinely. Inadequate pressure can increase the risk. If your tyre pressure is around 30% below the recommended, you further increase your vehicle’s aquaplaning risk.
Make sure to regularly check your tyres’ tread depth and other indications of wear and tear. Know that when you have a deeper tread depth, your tyres will be able to efficiently disperse water, immediately lowering the risk. Drive slowly and carefully when on wet road surfaces, most especially if you’re approaching roads with standing water or huge puddles.
In the event that you do aquaplane, remain calm so you won’t make any rash decisions that can further endanger your life. Resist accelerating and instead slowly reduce your speed until you feel your tyres finding their grip on the road again.
When you need to brake because you’re going to collide with something, and your car has anti-lock brakes (ABS), you’ll feel significant shuddering on the pedal. Try to increase the pressure when you brake and look for safer places where you can manoeuvre to prevent a collision.
For cars not equipped with ABS, apply gentle pumps on the pedal while braking to get a better grip. Then, look for safe places to steer to avoid a dangerous collision.
Drive carefully to avoid aquaplaning. And keep your tyres in good condition to lessen the risk.