Aquaplanning

What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning occurs whenever a vehicle travelling on a wet surface loses directional control when its wheels get in contact with deep standing water thus leading due to reduced traction. Consequently, the vehicle will skid and may hit an obstacle on the road.

What are the factors that increase the risk of aquaplaning?

Risks relating to aquaplaning depend on different factors, mainly:
1-    Depth of standing water: The deeper the water, the greater the risk of aquaplaning.
2-    Speed of the driver: The greater the speed, the higher the risk of aquaplaning.
3-    Type of road (concrete is better than asphalt, roads with a slope etc…).
4-    Tires condition: Vehicles with used and /or worn tires are more likely to aquaplane.
5-    Tires’ air pressure: When tires do not have enough air pressure, the water underneath the tire cannot be easily cleared.
6-    Type of vehicle: Semi-trailers may experience aquaplaning more than class 5 vehicles, all other factors being the same, due to the uneven distribution of weight. Motorcycles have a lower risk of aquaplaning due to their narrower tires, as compared to other types of vehicles. Accordingly, motorcycles’ weight is distributed over a smaller area.
7-    Breaking system of a vehicle: The type of brakes has a direct impact on aquaplaning risks.

What happens to the vehicle in case of aquaplaning?

In a broad highway turn, if the front wheels lose traction, the car will drift towards the outside. If the rear wheels lose traction, the back of the car will skid. In a turn, if the four wheels aquaplane, the car will slide towards the outside of the bend.
How to reduce the risks of aquaplaning?
1-    Ensure that your tires have the adequate air pressure.
2-    Make sure that your tires are unworn.
3-    Avoid pools of water and puddles.
4-    Reduce your speed as needed.
5-    Do not use cruise control option on wet or icy roads.

What are the actions to take to regain vehicle control?

1-    Do not hit the brakes.
2-    Avoid turning your steering wheel suddenly and sharply.
3-    Release the accelerator.
4-    Move gently the steering wheel in the right direction, when you feel that the traction of the wheels is regained.
5-    If you need to brake, your actions will depend on the type of your vehicle’s braking system: you can brake as usual if your vehicle is equipped with ABS, otherwise, try to gently and repetitively pump your brakes