Hydroplaning or aquaplaning by the tires of a road vehicle, aircraft or sometimes roller coaster occurs when a layer of water builds between the rubber tires of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to the loss of traction and thus preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs such as steering, braking or accelerating. If it occurs along all four wheels, the vehicle becomes, in effect, an uncontrolled sled.
Every vehicle function that changes direction or speed relies on the friction between the tires and the road surface. If water comes between the tires and the road, friction may be reduced to the extent that the tires may slip, and the driver may lose control.
The grooves of a rubber tire are designed to disperse water from beneath the tire, providing high friction even in wet conditions. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can dissipate. Water pressure in front of the wheel forces a wedge of water under the leading edge of the tire, causing it to lift from the road. The tire then skates on a sheet of water with little, if any, direct road contact, and loss of control results. If multiple tires hydroplane, the vehicle may lose directional control and slide until it either collides with an obstacle, or slows enough that one or more tires contact the road again and friction is regained.
The best strategy is to avoid as many contributors to hydroplaning as is possible. Proper tire pressure, narrow and unworn tires, and reduced speeds from those judged suitably moderate in the dry will mitigate the risk of hydroplaning. Avoidance of standing water is another effective prevention strategy.
Electronic stability control systems cannot replace these defensive driving techniques and proper tire selection. These systems use braking mechanisms unavailable to the driver (selective wheel braking), but any braking depends on road contact. While stability control may help recovery from a skid when the vehicle slows enough to regain traction, it cannot prevent hydroplaning.
Suggested is to turn off the cruise control in such wet and/or icy roads. Technologies are available in market and more are in development to ensure that an intelligent intervention is assured for a vehicle running on cruise control. These are mostly pre-fitted from the company of production.
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