How to Avoid Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning, or hydroplaning, occurs when the water between your tyres and the road surface cannot be removed quickly enough.

This layer of water builds up in front of the tyres until the pressure of the water exceeds the pressure of the tyre on the road, resulting in the tyres losing contact with the road surface.

This loss of adhesion causes the wheels to slip and prevents the vehicle from responding to steering, braking, or accelerating. As a result, your vehicle can lose control, start to skid or spin. It creates a potentially dangerous situation.

How to prevent or reduce aquaplaning

Check your tyres and tyre inflation regularly

Insufficient pressure strongly increases the risk of aquaplaning.

Check your tyre wear and tread depth

The more tread depth you have remaining on your tyres the more water you can disperse, reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

Reduce your speed

Especially when approaching large puddles or areas of standing water be sure to reduce your speed progressively and in good time.


What causes aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning happens when the presence of too much water makes your vehicle lose contact with the road surface. However, this is rare and usually only occurs when you are travelling too fast with low tyre tread depth and pressure, and the car is not heavy enough to force the tyre through the water.

A tyre travelling through water pushes a wave ahead of it. When the tyre tread hits the water at the front of the contact patch it increases the water pressure.

Once the pressure in the bow wave and under the tyre becomes greater than the average pressure of the tyre on the road surface, then the tyre won't be able to disperse the water and it will lift off the road surface.

The deeper the water and the higher the vehicle speed, the greater the effect eventually affecting road holding. In order for a tyre to perform properly on a wet surface, it must be able to disperse the water to restore dry contact.

The groove to water ratio

Most potential aquaplaning incidents can be prevented by a number of things such as the grooving of the tread and the shape of the contact patch. Other factors, such as pressure, speed, vehicle load and the depth of the water can also affect your chance of aquaplaning. As your tyre tread becomes worn, however, its ability to resist aquaplaning is reduced. The deeper the water, the sooner you’ll lose adhesion.

Michelin’s answer to aquaplaning

When there’s deep water on the road there are a number of factors to consider, including aquaplaning. You have a much better chance of cutting through puddles and maintain grip with Michelin technologies such as the Anti Surf System.

Featured on tyres like MICHELIN Pilot Sport 3, it can provide optimum performance on wet surfaces. The specially shaped shoulder design of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport 3 enables it to cut into the water, delaying the onset of aquaplaning without reducing the total contact area with the road.


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