Aquaplaning occurs when the grooves on your tyres cannot dissipate the amount of water on the road and one or more tyres lose their traction. This is a dangerous phenomenon that is the cause of a large number of accidents. We tell you what simple precautions can be taken to help you reduce the risk of aquaplaning when driving on waterlogged roads and how to react to keep your vehicle under control in this situation.
How does aquaplaning occur?
Aquaplaning occurs on wet roads, especially when driving through pools of water. When there is a lot of water on the road, your tyres are unable to clear it quickly enough and you experience a sudden loss of grip, and control, with your vehicle starting to slide.
Aquaplaning can be experienced on a single or multiple wheels. The risk is greatest when it first rains as oil and hydrocarbons, which have accumulated on the road beforehand, mix with rainwater and make the road more slippery. The condition of your tyres and your driving speed can also have a significant influence.
4 simple ways to reduce your risk of aquaplaning
Check the condition of your tyres:
- The more your tyres are worn, the greater the risk of aquaplaning. As the grooves on your tyres wear down, it is harder for your tyres to disperse water.
Check your tyre pressure:
- Check your tyre pressure once a month when your tyres are cold. Under- or over-inflated tyres increase the risk of aquaplaning.
Adapt your speed:
- Slow down when you see a considerable quantity of water during rolling on the road. The faster you drive, the more water your tyres will have to clear. As soon as the tyre is saturated, you risk skidding out of control.
Adopt a smooth driving style:
- Avoid sudden braking, acceleration and sharp turns which exacerbate the loss of grip.
How to react in the event of aquaplaning?
If you find yourself in a situation where you start to aquaplane, don’t panic! Gradually reduce your speed by slowly lifting your foot off the accelerator. Don’t try any emergency braking or sharp steering manoeuvres: you risk losing complete control of your vehicle and starting to spin. Keep calm and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If there are vehicles behind you, put your warning lights on to warn these drivers. Your vehicle will find its grip again, as soon as you get through the waterlogged area.
And if you want a bit of extra security when driving in the rain, there are tyres equipped with technology that can reduce the risk of aquaplaning such as the Michelin Anti Surf System.
The tread pattern of your tyres can also affect the risks of aquaplaning. For example, a V-shaped tread pattern or an asymmetric tyre with wide shoulder grooves will be better at pushing water to the side. The flexibility of the compound also plays an important role in how your tyre grips the road.