Aquaplaning - would you know what to do?

With a string of storms forecast this winter, melting snow and rain are likely to cause flooding and standing water on the roads. For this reason, TyreSafe is urging those on the roads to be aware of the risk of aquaplaning and what to do should you experience it while driving.

Aquaplaning is a dangerous phenomenon in which the tyre fails to displace the water and it builds up under the tyre effectively raising the tyre off the road surface so you will not be able to steer, brake or accelerate effectively.

How to tell if your car is aquaplaning:

Signs that could indicate you are aquaplaning include:

  • ‘light' and unresponsive steering
  • increased engine sound
  • the back end of your car drifting from side to side - known as ‘fishtailing'

What to do if you Aquaplane:

If you aquaplane and loose control of the vehicle it can be, especially at high speeds, a frightening situation to be in. There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident:

  1. Stay Calm!
  2. Avoid slamming on the brakes.
  3. Let the vehicle slow down naturally by easing your foot off the accelerator - make sure to switch off cruise control if it is on.
  4. Avoid moving the steering wheel. Try to keep the steering wheel straight and steady, following the road if possible.

To reduce the risk of aquaplaning it is important to check your tyres are in good condition, making sure they are inflated to the correct pressure and all have adequate tread depth of at least the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm. Driving on tyres with less tread, can mean your vehicle will struggle to clear as much water as tyres with a good amount of tread.

If you don't have a tread depth gauge, there is a simple test you can do with a 20p coin. Take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can't see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit. If you can see the outer band then your tyres could be unsafe and require professional inspection by a mechanic.

If you are at all concerned about the condition of your tyres and require a professional opinion, at Bush Tyres, all our tyre checks are free of charge. Click below to find your nearest branch.


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