It’s summer time here in Ireland, so let’s talk about aquaplaning.

In dry road conditions, the tread on your tyres is in contact with the road. You turn the steering wheel, the car points in the desired direction, and everybody arrives at their destination unscathed.

In wet road conditions, those grooves in your tyres funnel the water away, allowing the tread to maintain contact with the road. Again, everybody arrives at their destination unscathed.

Aquaplaning happens where there is standing water and the car hits it at speed. The water need not be very deep, and the speed need not be very high, for it to happen. The grooves cannot funnel the water away quick enough and this allows a film of water to occur between your tyres and the road. While you are aquaplaning you won’t have control over steering or braking. A clear indication that you are aquaplaning is the steering will feel very light. Avoid braking or sharp steering at this point or else everybody will arrive at their destination sideways and with poo in their pants.

Instead of brakes and panic, you should ease off the gas and focus on keeping the car pointed where you want it with steady steering input. When you pass through the water the car will grip again.

To help avoid aquaplaning; change your tyres if they are wearing down to the legal limit of 1.6mm, watch the road ahead for standing water and lower your speed on the approach to any standing water.

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