If you live in the UK you will know that it rains quite a lot here, according to the met office we have an average of 156 days of rainfall every year, would you believe it? & aquaplaning seems to be a common issue. I passed my driving test in July 2016 & have driven in horrendous weather conditions since. However aquaplaning wasn’t something that I was aware of until now, & I feel like a lot of mums will benefit from reading this post because let’s be honest, would you know what to do if it happened to you?
What is aquaplaning?
Aquaplaning also known as hydroplaning is when a layer of water builds up between the wheels of a vehicle and the road surface, this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and puts you and others at risk of a road collision. Aquaplaning can only happen when speed & water are present so be sure to slow down in wet or poor weather conditions such as rain, fog or snow.
Aquaplaning can be scary whether you are a new driver or a professional driver, but especially if you have children in the car. As a parent we all want to keep our children safe and with the the cold wintery weather slowly approaching us, I think it is important that we talk about ways in which we can avoid aquaplaning:
- Try and stick to the tyre tracks on the road where other cars have driven – this is something I was taught when I was learning to drive.
- Stay away from puddles if possible – Did you know that the first 10 minutes of light rain can actually be the most dangerous? This is because when light rain & oil mix together, it causes a slippery substance making the roads extra slippery so be sure to be aware of your speed at all times & always be aware of other drivers on the road.
- Check Tyres regularly – Make sure that your tyres are properly inflated and maintain at least 1.6 mm tread to ensure that they have good grip on the roads. Good Quality tyres can handle water better in poor weather conditions. You can reserve tyres in Southport at Point S and get local fitting. Low tread tyres could potentially make the issues worse. Without adequate tread depth you face an increased risk of your car aquaplaning. The deeper your tyre tread, the better your car will cope on the roads.
- Reduce Your Speed – Always slow down on wet roads as they can be slippery, as I said above water & speed are the two main causes of aquaplaning and by reducing both of them we are reducing the risk of aquaplaning. It is said that in poor weather conditions you should drive at least 5 mph under the speed limit. Go with the flow of the traffic but if the roads are clear drive at your own pace.
- Drive in a lower gear – this will help you have more control of the vehicle if anything was to go wrong.
Do you know how to check the tread on your tyres?
I am the only one who drives out of me & my partner therefore it is my responsibility to make sure that my car is safe to drive before we go out anywhere however I have always been one to rely on somebody else to tell me if there is something wrong with my car, until now. I have been driving for over a year now & despite learning the basics of the car when learning to drive I feel like checking the tread on your tyres is something that isn’t talked about enough, yet there is a legal requirement to have 1.6 mm of tread depth here in the UK and most manufacturers advise that you change your tyres when they hit 2.5 mm of tread, just to be safe.
Checking your tread depth is easy, but I wouldn’t have had a clue if I hadn’t been shown. The 20p test is a quick & easy way of checking if your tyres are legally safe to drive on. Simply place a 20p piece into the grooves of your tyres, if the 20p fits comfortably & you can’t see some of the coin, you are safe to go.
Check your tread, because 20p could potentially save your life.
What to do if it happens to you?
When your vehicle aquaplanes, your steering wheel will feel light & you may feel like you are gliding across a sheet of ice. When this happens, you must NOT slam on your brakes because this will make your vehicle skid resulting in a more dangerous situation for not only yourself but for other motorists too. You must however take your foot off the accelerator & let your car slow down by itself. Most importantly, try not to panic. Aquaplaning doesn’t last long, and usually only happens for a couple of seconds but it can be a terrifying experience especially if you have children in the car.
Have you ever experienced aquaplaning? Would you have known what to do?
*this is a collaborative post with Point S.