Aquaplaning is when your car loses traction on the road to due to surface water. It happens when there is a layer of water between your tyre and the road, meaning the driver may lose control of their vehicle. Learning all about aquaplaning is important for your driving theory test as well as for helping you become a safe driver after your practical test.
Aquaplaning can be avoided as long as you know what to look out for and how to drive in certain weather conditions. You might not encounter these conditions during your driving lessons, so here we explain how to avoid aquaplaning and also what to do if you do find yourself aquaplaning.
Driving in rain can be tricky for a number of reasons. Not only will you have reduced visibility, but you’ll also have surface water on the road to deal with. Your stopping distances will be increased by at least 4 times, and you’ll also have to be careful when approaching pools of standing water on the road.
Drive carefully when the roads are wet and there is a risk of flooding. Look out for any pools of standing water, and slow down when there is a chance you might come across water on the road. You should be especially careful when driving at night as you might not be able to spot pools of water on the road until it’s too late.
What happens when you aquaplane?
Aquaplaning is not only potentially dangerous, but it can be quite scary for the driver too. The steering will become light and you’ll feel as though you’ve momentarily lost control of the vehicle. It can feel a lot like skidding on ice, and you need to know how to react if it happens to you.
The most important thing you can do is stay calm. Panicking can only make the situation worse, but knowing how to deal with aquaplaning will help make sure you avoid having an accident.
How to deal with aquaplaning
If you do find yourself aquaplaning, the most important piece of advice is not to panic. Your instant reaction might be to brake or to turn the steering wheel to correct the skid. Don’t do this; it could make you lose control of the car completely.
Instead, you should keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, take your foot off the accelerator and avoid braking. Don’t try to change direction or to speed up or slow down. Once the tyre or tyres have regained traction, you will feel the steering return to normal and you will be able to continue on as normal.