Picture the scene. You’re driving along quite happily, when all of a sudden, a torrential downpour takes you by surprise. Whilst none of us like driving in hazardous weather this can be especially dangerous for those of us with low tyre tread. Your tyres are designed to cope with any and all weather conditions. As your tyre tread wears away, your car will find it more difficult to brave the elements.
Do you know anything about aquaplaning? Read on and learn what aquaplaning is, and what you can do to prevent this from happening to your car.
What Is Aquaplaning?
When water builds up between your tyres and the road, this is known as aquaplaning. This can be incredibly dangerous, especially if your tyre tread is low, as this means your tyres will find it harder to actually ‘grip’ the road. This in turn will leave you struggling to control your vehicle, as it will become more difficult to brake or steer when you want to, and slippage will become more likely.
How Does Aquaplaning Happen?
Over time, the grooves surrounding the outside of your tyre will wear away as they consistently come into contact with the road’s surface. When your tyre tread is at the correct depth, these grooves help water, mud, and snow to escape from beneath your tyres, thereby giving your car the traction it needs to stay in contact with the road.
If your tyre tread is low, then driving on a wet road will not create the friction needed to create enough traction between the rubber tyre and the road’s surface. Continuing to drive in wet conditions with a low tread can lead to even more water build-up underneath the tyres. It will be especially hard for your tyres to grip the roads if the water on the surface is deep, as with puddles and standing water.
Will I Be Able to Tell When Aquaplaning Is Happening?
If you notice any of the following whilst driving in wet weather, then it is likely that your vehicle is experiencing aquaplaning:
- You notice the back of your car is drifting back and forth
- Your steering feels ‘light’
- Your engine sounds louder
- Your revs have increased
You may not have expected to drive in wet weather, but it is important that you take notice of these indications of aquaplaning, so that you know how to respond.
My Car is Aquaplaning: What Do I Do?
If you think your car might be aquaplaning in wet weather, then it is essential that you are gentle with your vehicle. Take care not to slam on the brakes – put pressure on them gradually. If you do hit the brakes, then you run the risk of your vehicle spinning out of control.
Likewise, you should ease up on your acceleration, and try your best to relax your grip on the steering wheel and hold it straight.
Be gentle with your vehicle and take your time on the road. Whilst your first instinct might be to hit the brakes, the best thing you can do is try not to panic.
How Can I Avoid Aquaplaning?
To try and avoid aquaplaning in the first place, you should avoid driving at high speeds in wet weather conditions. The faster you drive, the more likely it is that you will lose control of your vehicle.
What’s more, driving quickly through flooded roads can land you a fine and points on your licence if you soak any pedestrians or cyclists passing by.
Whilst the following tips might not help you avoid aquaplaning, they can help you to drive safely in hazardous weather:
- Drive with your headlights on
- Leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front
- Look out for kerbs that may be hidden by water
Now you know what to do if your car experiences aquaplaning, and how to drive in torrential rain. Come rain or shine, you always want to be one step ahead of wet weather.
If you want to make aquaplaning less likely to occur, then you need to make sure that your tyres are at the right tread depth. If you need to replace your car's tyres, book an appointment through BookMyGarage today.
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