What Is Aquaplaning and How to Avoid It?

In this story, we tell you all about the lurking danger of aquaplaning on water-laden roads and how to avoid it from happening.

By Kingshuk Dutta


1 mins read


Published on June 23, 2016

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  • Aquaplaning occurs commonly on water-laden roads
  • Keeping a calm head is absolutely essential in an 'aquaplaning' situation
  • Keep an eye on the condition of the tyres on your car in monsoon

Monsoon is almost upon us and this means water laden roads all over the country. It would be difficult to believe that the rain water, which stays on roads so harmlessly, holds major potential for accidents. All thanks to a phenomenon known as aquaplaning or hydroplaning.

What basically happens is that a thin film of water is formed between the tyres of a car and the tarmac. This happens because the pressure that water lying on the road exerts becomes more than the pressure that the tyres exert on the road. This happens just for a fraction of a second but that is more than enough for you to lose control of the car. Basically, the car loses the grip that the tyres generate from the tarmac. Even steering inputs fail to register and the brakes are rendered useless because the tyres are spinning freely. This means that the car is likely to spin off the road or crash into oncoming traffic, if it is there. Yes! It's danger lurking on a harmless looking road with water on it.

(Image courtesy: wheelwright.co.uk)

Prevention is always better than cure

There are ways to reduce the risk of aquaplaning when driving in the rains. For starters, make sure that the tyres on your car are inflated as per the manufacturer's prescription. Underinflated or overinflated tyres will dispel water in a haphazard way, which increases the risk of aquaplaning. Secondly, if you see that the tyres of your car are worn out and have negligible tread, change them, at the earliest. There is nothing worse than a bald tyre on a wet rainy day. It will only serve to make your day even gloomier. Thirdly, if you see standing water on the roads, slow down your speed before you enter the puddle. The lesser the speed, the lesser the risk of aquaplaning. Yes! Everybody loves to splash water all around while driving through a puddle but we suggest you taking it easy. Another way to prevent aquaplaning is if the spray from the tyres of car in front of you suddenly increases, it might mean that the car ahead is experiencing aquaplaning.

How do you know whether your car is experiencing aquaplaning?

In case of aquaplaning, you will feel that the steering has become lighter. The RPMs might rise momentarily. The car might suddenly veer in a different direction than the intent of travel.

What to do in case you find yourself 'aquaplaned'

Keeping a calm head is absolutely essential to deal with aquaplaning. First and foremost, stay away from the brake and the accelerator pedal. Step on either and chances are that you will worsen the situation and make the car go in an uncontrolled skid. Secondly, do not provide any steering inputs. Chances are the moment you regain traction after an aquaplaning moment, you might lose it again because the wheels are facing in the direction opposite to the travel. Grip the steering tight and let the car go in the direction its going. It is best to wait it out than doing anything because usually aquaplaning situations are momentary.

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