Hydroplaning: How it happens and ways to prevent it?
Published On 07-Jun-2016
Most of the riders might often observe their vehicles losing traction especially, when driving on wet roads. Its not just about traction, even the driver's control over a vehicle is affected in such situations. But why does it happen? This is the question that strikes in the minds of many people and the answer is here. This state is called hydroplaning, which is also termed as aquaplaning. It takes place when a layer of water accumulates between a radial and the road surface. When this happens, the steering, braking as well as power control is also affected. Besides these, it causes a vehicle to skid thus, making the drive quite unsafe for its passengers. On the other hand, the dangers associated with it can be avoided by knowing how to prevent this condition and to regain control. Even before learning the ways of hydroplaning, it is utmost important for every owner of a vehicle to know the factors causing it.
How Hydroplaning takes place?
There are a few factors that contribute to aquaplaning and these are listed below.
1) Depth of tyre's tread:
Due to uneven wear and tear, a radial loses its resistance to withstand this situation. As a result, it fails in dispersing water properly from its tread surface thus, leading to hydroplaning.
2) Water depth:
The rate at which the traction is lost, mainly depends on the depth of water. However, the level of grip is reduced by thin layers of water, even when a vehicle is driven at low speeds.
3) Speed of a vehicle:
The grip on wet surfaces tend to come down if, a car is driven at a higher speed. As this condition is also known for affecting the vehicle's control, it is necessary for individuals to drive at a low speed and concentrate more on the traffic around.
4) Tread pattern:
We often come across radials, whose tread features grooves, while some of them lack it. When compared to the ribbed and grooved patterns, treads with no grooves are more prone to hydroplaning. These play a key part is dispersing water effectively so as to maintain maximum traction. Hence, absence of grooves certainly causes this condition.
5) Tyre size:
The shape as well as size of a radial are the other factors that tells about the possibility of hydroplaning. The radials with a wider contact patch are more likely to hydroplane when compared to those tyres with a smaller foot print.
6) Drive train:
In comparison, all wheel drive vehicles are more likely to face this problem than two wheel drive vehicles in a few situations. It usually happens because of their computer assisted differentials. Moreover, when power is suddenly transmitted from the front to rear tyres, it also makes a vehicle go out of control.
Ways to prevent it:
There are definitely a number of ways that can help prevent the situation of aquaplaning. Some of the key measures, which can be followed are explained below.
1) Reducing the speed:
It is agreed by several experts that this situation happens mostly, when a vehicle is driven at higher speeds. It is utmost important to slow down than the speed limit on water filled roads or in case of heavy rains. Driving at high speed or increasing it suddenly, will just enhance the risk of hydroplaning.
2) Avoid braking:
When this condition takes place, it is necessary that you do not slam on your brakes as this can lead to skidding. This usually happens with vehicles that do not have anti lock braking system. Instead, you can reduce the speed and continue driving to ensure safety.
Keeping tyres in good condition is one of the best ways of preventing hydroplaning. All the owners are suggested to have their car's tyres rotated and balanced on regular basis. Moreover, it is necessary to observe if they are properly inflated as per the manufacturer's specifications. Also make sure that your radials are not worn out as this can reduce traction and thereby, affects control.
4) Cruising is a strict no in the rain:
Driver's should always remember to not to use cruise control function especially, when it is raining or on wet surfaces. This is because it takes a lot of time to disable this function and regain the vehicle's control. Therefore, the cruise control function should be strictly avoided in such situations.
5) Avoid Puddles:
One of the simple and best ways to stay away from this dangerous condition is to avoid puddles. Aquaplaning happens even on a thin layer of water. Also try to avoid roads that have standing water as running on them, will further add to the problem.
Therefore, whether there is a possibility of hydroplaning or not, make sure you take care of your radials properly and take necessary precautions to avoid this unsafe condition.