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Aquaplaning: Several ways it can kill

2014-10-15 13:13

ARE YOUR TYRES IN GOOD CONDITION? South Africa is prone to heavy rainfall so it’s important you maintain your tyres to avoid the terrifying experience of aquaplaning. Image: Tyre Safe

LONDON, England - UK road safety campaigner TyreSafe has released videos to educate drivers about the risk associated with aquaplaning - "a dangerous phenomenon".

It's caused by a lack of tyre-tread depth and speed on a wet road which combine to make the vehicle "float" on the water film.

The video clips show a car shod with semi-bald tyres aquaplaning in a straight line across water on a flooded road, despite the driver’s attempt to change direction.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Our latest video and animation illustrate perfectly why it’s so important to check your tyres' tread depth regularly."


“Not only are braking, cornering and acceleration each affected by shallow tread but in heavy rain there’s a real risk of aquaplaning which could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, placing yourself, your passengers and other road users at an increased risk of being involved in a crash.”

VIDEO: Dangers of aquaplaning
VIDEO: Aquaplaning explained (animation)

Adequate tread depth is important for safety in wet conditions as the grooves remove water from the contact patch between tyre and tar. As the tread depth decreases with wear so its ability to squeegee the road decreases, reducing grip and extending stopping distance.

Tyresafe explains: “In extreme circumstances, when the tyre has insufficient tread depth to clear the water properly, increased water pressure causes the tyres to lift on top of the water surface and lose contact with the road."

During this dangerous aquaplaning situation any input from the driver - braking, steering - has no effect on the vehicle, leaving it at an increased risk of a crash.”


The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference encourages all South Africans to ensure that their tyres are safe and well-maintained - October 2014 is SA’s Road and Tyre Safety month.

According to the SATMC, coirrect tyre pressure (only check your tyres when they are cold), complying with the prescribed tyre and vehicle load limits, inspecting tyres for any damage (including cuts, blister and irregularities) are crucial to avoid tyre failure - and the horror that could follow.

Click here to find out more about tyre safety

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