The sci­ence be­hind aqua­plan­ing

This dan­ger­ous skid­ding is caused by the ac­tion (or in­ac­tion) of key forces

How It Works - - TRANSPORT -

Slow speed

At slower speeds the tyres are able to shift the water away from the sur­face of the road and the sur­face of the wheel.

Full road con­tact

At slower speeds the tyres man­age to keep in full con­tact with the road so the driver can ma­noeu­vre safely through the wet con­di­tions.

Mod­er­ate speed

At mod­er­ate speeds the tyres are still able to move most of the water and, while trac­tion is re­duced, grip re­mains.

Re­duced road con­tact

Re­duced road con­tact can re­sult in some loss of con­trol and may cause a ve­hi­cle to slide around a bit.

Higher speed

At higher speeds the treads on tyres are un­able to shift the water be­tween the tyre and the road, caus­ing the tyres to lose all trac­tion and the driver to lose con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.


When the water isn’t re­moved by the tyres the pres­sure in­creases in front of the tyres as it gath­ers there in­stead. Even­tu­ally the water wedges un­der­neath the tyre, lift­ing the ve­hi­cle and caus­ing it to glide along the road.

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