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All you need to know about aquaplaning

One of the key roles of a tyre is to drain water off the contact patch when driving on wet roads.

How is aquaplaning produced?

Aquaplaning takes place when water separates the tread of the tyre from the road. it gathers insides the tread depth and creates a layer. When pressure is so high that water is no longer drained, the tyre loses contact with the road. It becomes nearly impossible to stay in control of the vehicle.

What are the causes of aquaplaning ?

One of the main causes leading to aquaplaning is the extent to which the tyre is worn out. The shallower the tread pattern, the harder it becomes to drain water off. Contact with the road decreases progressively which makes the car liable to aquaplaning when braking, accelerating, etc

A step by step approach to aquaplaning
aquaplaning
Step 1
Moderate rain, steady speed : the risks of aquaplaning are limited. Water dispersal is done efficiently and contact with the road is optimal.
Step 2
Low drainage, High speed, the quantiy of water on the road increases The tyre is now facing difficulties to drain water off.
Step 3
The tread is flooded, a thick layer of water gathers between the road and the contact patch, grip is lost and the car starts sliding.

The risks of underinflation

Underinflated tyres significantly increase the risk of aquaplaning.

Tyre pressure Speed Explanation
2.4 bar (35psi) 60miles/h The tread ( in dark in the picture) is completely in contact with the road.
2.4 bar (35 psi) 60miles/h The contact patch is reduced but water drainage is efficiently carried out thanks to the tread depth .
2 bar (30 psi) 60miles/h The contact patch is reduced, heightened risks of aquaplaning.
1.7 bar (25 psi) 60miles/h Water gathers under the tyre, contact with the road is practically inexistant, control of the car is lost.