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Aquaplaning – What You Need to Know?

18 January 2011 24,422 views 3 Comments

Rainy weather and wet roads are something that is inevitable. Unfortunately when there is excess water on the roads the risk of Aquaplaning increases dramatically. However, we cannot let the weather determine whether or not we drive. This is why you should safeguard yourselves against the weather and make driving in the wet a safe and pleasurable experience?

Aquaplaning When Driving in the Wet RainAquaplaning occurs when a cushion of water forms between a vehicles tyre and the road surface. This can result in a complete loss of steering control. Aquaplaning is fairly common. Many drivers will experience this effect to some extent at some point in their driving lives.

As the tyre rotates in a forward direction the side exit threads are vital to push water away from the road surface. This allows contact to be maintained between the surface of the road and the tread of the tyre. There are a number of factors that determine how susceptible a tyre tread is to aquaplaning. These include the level of the water, the vehicles speed, tyre pressure and most crucially the tyre tread depth.

In recent years some tyre companies have manufactured tyres that are specially designed for wet driving situations. These types of tyres have side exit threads that have been incorporated into the tyre design to move water away from the road surface.

The tyres used in motor racing can be viewed as an example of how important certain tyres can be for driving in wet conditions. One type of tyre is used for a wet track and a very different type is used for a dry track. The ‘rain tyres’ have deep grooves that are angled to the side to provide optimum grip and driving performance.

If You Aquaplane – Stay Calm!

How does the vehicle feel as the driver when aquaplaning occurs? This can depend upon which wheels have lost direct contact with the road surface and if the vehicle is travelling straight or going into a corner. If going in a straight direction the steering will feel loose. Trying to regain control will have no affect until the tyres make contact with the road again.

When the driving wheels aquaplane, there will be an increase in revs. If the vehicle is going into a bend and the front wheels lose road contact the vehicle will start sliding to the outside of the bend. If the rear wheels lose traction, the rear of the vehicle will start to go into a skid. If all of the wheels lose contact with the road then the vehicle if likely to skid and will possibly slide horizontally.

The best way to try and recover control over a vehicle if it aquaplanes is to freeze. Keep perfectly still, lock your feet and arms and wait for the aquaplaning to finish. The driver should not turn the steering wheel or apply the brakes. This can result in a severe spin. In most cases aquaplaning will end in just a couple of seconds. If you feel that you don’t have those critical seconds, e.g. an obstacle approaching, you may try to ease off the accelerator to slow the car down.

Aquaplaning is a common and sometimes frightening occurrence. To suddenly lose control of a vehicle is something that none of us wants to experience. There are a number of factors that can increase the chances of a vehicle aquaplaning. But the key is having tyres with tread that is designed with wet surfaces in mind.

Written by John Williams, A car finance writer for Creditplus.co.uk

The image has been added by TyreBlog and credits go to Christian Eager.

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