Avoid aquaplaning by following these simple steps

A few adaptions to your driving style and proper tyre maintenance could help you avoid an aquaplaning situation

Reuben Van Niekerk
aquaplaning meaning
wet weather driving

With the Gauteng rainy season fast approaching it is important for motorists to understand the dangers of aquaplaning and how to avoid it.


What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning is when a wedge of water forms between the tyres of your car and the road surface causing the tyre to lose contact with the road surface and no longer be responsive to steering inputs.


The role of the tread or grooves on your tyres are to disperse water allowing the tyre to remain in contact with the road surface.


In order for your tyres to do their job it is important to take note of the following;

  • Ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated according to the manufacturers recommendations for the load you are carrying.
  • Ensure that you have at least 1.6mm of tread on your tyres, this is indicated by the tread wear markings within the grooves of the tyre.
  • Replace your tyres timeously, the deeper the grooves on your tyre, the better they will be at dispersing water.

Tip: Read How to check your tyre tread.


Drivers also need to adapt their driving style when driving in wet weather in order to avoid aquaplaning. It is important to reduce your speed, as this will give your tyres more chance to disperse water and drastically reduce the chances of aquaplaning.


If you see that you are about to hit a puddle or standing water be sure to keep the steering wheel dead straight. If you r wheels are turned to either side, there is a better chance of the car pulling to that side and beginning to aquaplane as you hit the water.


In a front wheel drive or all wheel drive car it is important to keep your foot on the accelerator if the car begins to aquaplane as this will aid the car in pulling itself through and straight. In a rear wheel drive car it is advisable to slowly ease off the accelerator as smoothly as possible.


Lastly, if your vehicle is equipped with stability control, ensure that the system remains switched on as this will drastically reduce your chances of aquaplaning as the the electronics are designed to keep the car in a straight line.