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In 2021 there were approximately 143 days of rain in the UK. Having all that rain is bound to lead to poor road conditions as a result there is more chance of aquaplaning also known as hydroplaning. The main danger from aquaplaning is losing control of your car, this can then lead to skidding or even a incident.

What is Aquaplaning and Why it Occurs?

Aquaplaning happens when water starts to build up between the road surface and the tyres.  This occurs when the tyres come into contact with standing water that cannot be dispersed by the tyre tread. The water is pushed beneath the wheels by the force of the vehicle, causing them to lose traction on the road surface. Aquaplaning can be impacted by 2 factors, speed and tyre condition. Speed is the most effective as the faster you go the least water displacement the tyres can handle. The conditions of your tyres will also have an impact, this is why it’s important to check your tyre tread depth regularly.

aquaplaning

Signs of Aquaplaning

Below is a list of signs that your vehicle may be aquaplaning. This will help you know what to look for an how to take action should you start aquaplaning.

  • High revs – Your engine will crank noisily as if you’ve pressed the clutch while still pressing the accelerator.
  • Inaccurate speed – Your speedometer might give you an incorrect reading. You should not use cruise control in wet conditions as aquaplaning will slow the speed of your vehicle. If cruise control is activated it will try to speed up your vehicle leading to the tyres spinning faster resulting in a higher chance of you aquaplaning. 
  • Light steering – Due to having no grip on the road your steering will feel light. You should take it easy and only make small steering adjustments.
  • Fishtailing or skidding. – The back of your vehicle might become jittery or start moving from side to side. 

How to Control Aquaplaning

Once you find that your car has started to aquaplane it vital you remain calm. Aquaplaning can be simple to control as long as you follow these easy steps.

  1. Don’t hit the brakes.
  2. Ease off the accelerator gently.
  3. Hold the steering wheel straight.
  4. When car begins to slow you can then start to use your brakes and small wheel movements.

It’s critical to maintain your composure once you’ve realised your car has begun to aquaplane. If you try something radical, such as slamming on the brakes or twisting the steering wheel rapidly, your vehicle may skid or slide into a crash.

Instead, keep your hands straight on the steering wheel and gently release the accelerator. You should be able to feel your wheels acquiring traction as you slow down, and you’ll regain control. Only once you’ve begun to gain traction is it then okay to make modest, steady steering wheel movements and softly apply the brakes.

How to Avoid Aquaplaning

Follow the Tracks

If you’re following the car ahead of you, their tyres will likely leave ‘tracks’ in the surface water, as they will have already expelled part of the water from the road. You can lessen your chances of aquaplaning by following the tracks at a safe distance. Remember that your stopping distance is 2x greater in wet conditions.

Drive to Weather Conditions

Having a good understanding of the weather conditions is very important as aquaplaning occurs during wet weather. Always be sure to check the weather before leaving for a journey, paying extra attention to weather conditions throughout the whole drive. If conditions become challenging it is important to drive to the conditions of the road, this may include reducing your speed.

Ensure are in Good Tyre Condition

Having your tyres in good condition is very important for driving in wet weather as the tyre treads help disperse surface water from the road. Therefore, you should check your tyres regularly to make sure they are in good condition and inflated correctly. Your vehicle manual should tell you the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle although this can be checked online or at most petrol stations. The minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, although the more tread depth you have the better your tyres will displace water, and you’ll have less chance of aquaplaning. Research shows that tyres with good tread depth can remove up to a bucket of water every 7 seconds from the road, as a result, Tyres in a good condition can be greatly beneficial when driving in wet conditions. 

Manage Your Speed

When traveling at higher speeds, your vehicle will have less traction on the road, and there is no specific speed limit for which aquaplaning can occur.  It has been found that a vehicle traveling below 30mph is more likely have enough road traction to avoid aquaplaning in wet road conditions; while a driver traveling at over 30mph in the same conditions is much more likely to lose traction. Driving smoothly can also help avoid aquaplaning. Sudden and dramatic changes in direction are never a good idea, but they’re even worse on wet roads. You should pay special attention to road curves and be familiar with the procedures outlined above so that you know what to do if your car starts to aquaplane. 

Aquaplaning is something companies should be making their drivers aware of as it can cause incidents. Having good driver training for your drivers can help to avoid aquaplaning as they will be more aware of their surroundings and have better knowledge, anticipation, and observation skills when driving. This will then decrease the chances of aquaplaning and other incidents. 

Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning

In 2021 there were approximately 143 days of rain in the UK. Having all that rain is bound to lead to poor road conditions as a result there is more chance of aquaplaning also known as hydroplaning. The main danger from aquaplaning is losing control of your car, this can then lead to skidding or

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