Avoid aquaplaning and control your car in the rain

driving in the rain sharks

Warning: There's Danger lurking in the blacktop

It's raining!!! What do I do?

So it's started to rain. The roads are dry, the heatwave has scorched the land and suddenly all this surface water has nowhere to go.

Suddenly our windows are up, the heating is on and there's road spray everywhere, wipers whipping back and forth, visibility reduced and dubious traction.

youtube rewind button

Wait! Rewind

You've already made your first mistake. Check your car before you set off, especially in dangerous conditions. 

  • Check your tyres
    • Tread depth
    • Any cuts or stones
    • Are you using Summer tyres?

  • Check your brakes
  • Do your wipers work?
  • Any other concerns with the car that could become worse in bad conditions? 



car stopping distances

As a general rule, in wet weather where roads are slippery, your braking distance will double. Hopefully, in these conditions you are more alert and aware of your surroundings, so your reaction time should increase to help by pre-empting any potential dangers on the road. However, the difference between having to stop suddenly within 60 feet to 120, is substantial (double in fact). And when those brake lights ahead come on if you are following within one car length, any compromises in worn brakes, worn tyres or lack of attention to the road will result in a very close encounter and a dangerous result. 


aquaplaning diagram

It's all about contact with the road. The more rubber in contact with the road at any time, the better grip and traction, therefore control on the road. At higher speeds, and with tyres that do not have sufficient grooving designed to direct the flow of water away from the tyre, the rubber will lose traction to the road and start to lift to get over the water.

As more and more water builds either from heavy surface water or higher speeds, collecting water faster that can be directed away you will begin to aquaplane. As tyres lift and the car starts to essentially float you will lose control of the car and essentially be directing a boat. Similar to driving on ice, traction is lost, braking will increase substantially and changing direction will need to be very gradually to avoid the backend sliding out, especially in rear wheel drive cars.

The lighter the car, the more at risk you are of aquaplaning at speed, and with front-wheel drive slight changes of the wheel can be very twitchy on slippery roads.

Rear-wheel drive can be very dangerous even on the dryest of roads. High-powered rear wheel drive cars can be even worse, so caution must be taken when braking, changing directions and accelerating.

As a general rule - think ahead, plan your actions and always be looking out for potential dangers.

To ensure your car is roadworthy, give our service team a call to check out your car - it's better to be safe than sorry. And it only takes a click of a button...