Aquaplaning is a hazard all drivers face when driving in wet or rainy conditions that can be the cause of many accidents. Rainy conditions cause many driving hazards, but if you thought the worst hazard was merely poor visibility (which is definitely a hazard), think again. Aquaplaining is a much greater hazard.
Aquaplaning was once the term used for water-skiing, which gives a rough description of what happens when a car aquaplanes. We all know that water reduces friction as can be proved by a simple experiment. Run your finger or foot over a dry vinyl or linoleum floor. Then drop a little water on the floor and run your finger over it again. The surface will feel more slippery. This is because your finger is, in a sense, aquaplaning. On wet tarmac, a layer of water can be trapped between the car’s tyres and the road. This layer of water reduces the friction, thus causing the car to slide over it with reduced grip. During cornering or braking, this loss of grip causes loss of control, which is why aquaplaning is a real safety risk.
As aquaplaning is caused by a layer of water being trapped between the road and the tyre, it can be eliminated by preventing the water becoming trapped. The condition and type of tyre chosen makes crucial difference if you want to prevent aquaplaning. Worn or underinflated tyres, and low-profile tyres are more likely to aquaplane. Some tyre manufacturers have designed some treads of tyres specifically for use in wet conditions. These designs of tyre have special channelling that allows the water to flow out from between the tyre and the road surface, thus preventing the water build-up that causes aquaplaning.
The depth of water on a road surface also plays a factor in aquaplaning. Even if your car is fitted with the best anti-skid system and specially designed tyres, aquaplaning can still occur, so car must always be taking in wet conditions.
We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Aquaplaning?’!
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