If you have ever felt out of control while driving your vehicle in wet road surface or through a large puddle, chances are you have experienced hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when water separates your tyres from the ground underneath causing them to lose traction with the road. Your vehicle speed, tread depth, and water depth are some of the contributing factors.
What is Hydroplaning?
When your car tyre treads are unable to displace the water it encounters on wet road surfaces then the car starts skidding, this condition is known as hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is also known as aquaplaning. When driving on wet road surfaces, especially in monsoon, the tyre treads of the car pushes away the water and makes contact with the road surface. But when there is more water the pressure pushes the water under the tyres which makes a thin film between the road and the tyre. Owing to this the tyre loses contact with the road and the driver is unable to control the car causing the car to skid.
What Leads to Hydroplaning?
1. Increased Speed
Many factors trigger hydroplaning; the most common factor being over-speeding on wet roads. The treads of the front car tyres help in displacing the water that is encountered on wet roads. Increased speed of the car causes increased water buildup which the tyre may not be able to displace thus losing connection with the road surface. In this condition, the driver is unable to control the car and the car starts sliding.
2. Tread Depth and Design
The other crucial factor that leads to hydroplaning is tyre tread depth and its pattern. Tyre treads come directly in contact with the road surface. If the treads of the tyre are worn, then there are high chances of hydroplaning. The deeper the tyre treads better is the displacement of water from the road surface.
Tyres have different tread patterns; to avoid hydroplaning, select the tyres that have tread designs that can displace more water and have better resistance to hydroplaning.
3. Water Depth and Road Conditions
There is a direct relationship between water depth and hydroplaning. If the water depth is more the chances of hydroplaning grow exponentially. In simple terms, the road conditions also contribute to the chances of hydroplaning.
How to Prevent Hydroplaning?
1. Reduce Speed
In most cases hydroplaning occurs due to increased speed. It is suggested that during the rainy season or while driving through wet road surfaces the speed of the car should be slow or under the speed limit. Trying to overtake other vehicles by abruptly increasing the speed causes you to lose traction and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. Try to avoid sudden acceleration so that you do not lose control over your car.
2. Selection of Tyres
Be careful with tyre selection; seek professional advice while selecting tyres. High-quality tyres with proper tread patterns should be selected to prevent hydroplaning. If the tyre treads are below 1.6 mm then they should be replaced immediately. Worn or slick tyres are more prone to hydroplaning.
3. Do Regular Tyre Servicing
It is always recommended to do regular car tyre servicing; but, especially before monsoon, the two points that need to get checked in your checklist is wheel balancing and tyre rotation. The car tyres need to be rotated and balanced so that they are well-tuned to avoid hydroplaning. Furthermore, since tyre pressure is an important factor contributing to optimum grip; the importance of having your tyres properly inflated cannot be overstated.
4. Avoid Puddles
To drive on damaged roads requires extra effort and alertness especially in the monsoon. Water puddles, potholes, and less vision of the road are some of the obstructions that you encounter while driving in the wet season. Driving through large potholes or big water puddles cause your tyres to lose traction altogether and they are likely to hydroplane.
Hydroplaning is a condition that can never be predicted. It happens instantly thus drivers should be extra cautious while driving on wet roads.
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