What is aquaplaning, and why it’s so risky, especially during the monsoons

During monsoons, our Indian roads become very dangerous. The roads become slippery and make driving difficult. The driver needs to pay extra attention and care. There is something that is very dangerous during monsoons, it is called “Aquaplaning” or “Hydro-planing”. It is a phenomenon that happens because of stagnant water on the road and is the cause of most of the accidents that happen during rains. Here, we have a video that can help you understand what aquaplaning is.

The video is uploaded on YouTube by Shamindra Sengupta. In the video, we can see a Mercedes-Benz C-Class taking a wide corner, going through a puddle and ultimately hitting the sidewall. The C-Class is equipped with various safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control etc. but still, the driver was not able to control the vehicle.

The C-Class lost grip and started sliding sideways. We can see that the airbags of the car also opened because of the high-speed impact. It seems like the driver or any other occupant in the car got hurt. The driver can be seen coming out of the car and checking what happened and then he drives away. While the occupants were not hurt, the car’s left side was badly damaged. Fortunately, the car stopped after the impact or it would have then hit the bus that was coming from the opposite lane.

What is aquaplaning, and why it’s so risky, especially during the monsoons

So, what exactly happened?

What happened here is, that the driver took the turn at a high speed and we can see stagnant water on the road. The accident was caused by aquaplaning. This means that the tyres were not able to dissipate or remove the water from the surface. So, the contact patch between the tyres and roads gets obstructed by water and the tyres lose traction or grip. This causes the car to slide uncontrollably.

In such a case, the car driver just loses control of the car, and the brakes and the safety system of the vehicle also do not work. This is because the car is just slipping on the water surface as there is no contact with the tarmac.

What to do during aquaplaning?

You would get to know if you are experiencing aquaplaning if your steering wheel becomes extremely light and you no longer have control over the direction of the vehicle. If you have a heavy right foot then you might also notice the revs of the engine increasing as the tyres would start spinning freely.

There is not much that a person can do during aquaplaning. The first and the most obvious thing to do is let off the accelerator. The steering wheel should not be turned as it would make the vehicle turn aggressively as soon as the tyres again make contact with the road. The best thing to do is wait for the car to slow down so that the tyres can come in contact with the tarmac once again. This would restore the control and grip of the vehicle.

How to avoid aquaplaning?

The easiest thing that you can do to avoid aquaplaning is to SLOW DOWN. This would give an ample amount of time to the tyres to dissipate the water. Keep the speed below 40 kmph. Then there is the condition of the tyres. It treads should have a depth of at least 4 mm. Ensure that the tyres are inflated properly, they should not be underinflated.