How to prevent aquaplaning: 5 tips

When suddenly roads are full of water, the wheels of your vehicle might loose their grip. We tell you how to behave properly in this situation.

Slippery when wet! Aquaplaning may result in serious accidents. Photo: Uli Regenscheit

Slippery when wet! Aquaplaning may result in serious accidents. Photo: Uli Regenscheit

Heavy rainfalls constitute a serious danger for road safety – not only in spring. If there is a lot of water on the streets, the wheels might start to float and loose contact with the road surface – the feared aquaplaning occurs. If you react wrongly in this situation, you risk loosing control of your vehicle. These tips help you to stay on course.

1. Pay attention to the tyre tread depth

Pay attention to the tread depth of the tyres, please. Tyres need a sufficient tread depth to be able to take and drain water. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm, however, experts recommend a minimum depth profile of 3.0 mm.

2. Check the tyre pressure regularly

The same applies to the tyre pressure. If the pressure is too low, the tyres start to float – a regular check is indispensable.

3. Respect the maximum speed limit

On motorways, the maximum speed limit under wet conditions is 80 km/h. You should absolutely adhere to this regulation. Water collects especially in valleys and ruts and stays there for some time after it has stopped raining. The faster you drive, the more tyres loose their grip on the road surface.

4. Avoid hectic steering maneuvers

The water splashing from the car in front or loud, gargling noise from the wheel case indicates that there is a lot of water on the street and the wheels have to struggle. In case of aquaplaning, the vehicle no longer reacts to steering movements. However, as soon as the wheels regain contact to the road surface, that changes suddenly. Therefore, stay calm, take firm hold of the steering wheel and maintain your direction.

5. Avoid heavy braking

When the car starts floating, take your foot off the gas immediately. In no case you should brake sharply, the same is true as for hectic steering manoeuvres. In the first moment, the braking forces are not transferred to the ground. When the wheels regain contact with the ground, the deceleration is even stronger. The car could start to skid or you might cause a collision by an emergency stop.

Read more: Safe in crosswinds

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