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There’s nothing scarier than losing control of your car, even for a second.  Aquaplaning or hydroplaning essentially occurs when there is so much water on the road’s surface that it prevents a car’s tyres from making contact with the ground.  When it’s raining we all know that we can slip if we’re walking too fast – the same theory applies to cars in wet weather.

Tyre Pressure And Aquaplaning

It is an interesting (and potentially life-saving) fact that low tyre pressure plays a major role in the likelihood of a car aquaplaning.  In fact if your car tyres are 30 per cent or more below the recommended pressure settings then you are much more likely to experience aquaplaning in wet driving conditions.  This is because the higher the pressure of your tyres, the more traction (the amount of adhesive friction) they have with the road surface.   Tyres with low pressure will “sop up” excessive water on the road and the car will lose significant traction, which can result in it sliding or skidding.  It doesn’t take much to imagine the damage that such an out of control car could cause to other vehicles, pedestrians as well as the danger to the driver themselves.

Fortunately there are a number of preventative measures you can take to make your car safer and more resistant to aquaplaning.  These include:

  • Ensuring that your car tyre pressure is at the optimal setting as recommended by the manufacturer.  If you’re not confident checking your car tyre’s pressure at a service station, get a friend or family member to do it for you, or make sure you get the tyres checked by a professional mechanic when you book your car in for its regular service.
  • While you are checking your car tyres, you should also regularly check for wear as well as the depth of the tyre’s tread.  You may have heard the term “bald tyres” which are tyres which have lost any useful tread, or “slicks” which are special tyres without treads used in car racing.  The tread (or grooves in the rubber) prevent the tyres slipping on the road surface by flicking or dispersing any water away.  The more worn your tyres are, or the shallower your treads appear, the less likely they will be able to do their job in wet weather.

Apart from the general ongoing maintenance of your car, there are also a number of things you can do when encountering wet or hazardous driving conditions.  Simply slowing down when you encounter a wet, slippery road or puddle of water is one of the simplest ways to avoiding aquaplaning. This may sound like common sense but the sheer volume of videos on Youtube of drivers racing through water on a road only to find themselves hitting the side barriers or even turning completely around (facing on-coming traffic) shows that more drivers should heed this sensible piece of advice.

As a car driver you have the ultimate responsibility to ensure your car is as safe as possible in a wide range of driving conditions. Professional driving instructors Adelaide will teach a learner driver to match driving behaviour with the conditions on the road.

Safe Driving

Kim Ulreich