Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Are you keeping your tires in good shape? You should – or the next time you’re riding in the wet, you might experience some major hydroplaning

In this blog post, you’ll discover:

  • What hydroplaning is, and why it happens
  • 3 things you can do to prevent it
  • What to do in case it happens anyway

What is Hydroplaning?

image of motorcycle rider in wet weather

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Picture this – you’re out riding in heavy rainfall. 

At one point, you ride straight through a huge water puddle on the side of the road – without slowing down.

Suddenly, you feel like you’re losing control of your motorcycle, and before you know it – you fall off.

What happened? 

You’ve just discovered what hydroplaning (also known as “aquaplaning”) is the hard way.

What Causes Hydroplaning?

In the example above, what happened was that the tire couldn’t dispose of the water in time because you rode through the puddle too quickly.

When this happens, a small film of water starts to form between your tire and the road. 

Essentially, you were riding on the water and not the road – losing all your grip in the process.

An unpleasant experience – not to mention a dangerous one. So how can you prevent hydroplaning?

3 Simple Ways to Prevent Hydroplaning

1. Avoid riding in puddles if you can

What’s the easiest way to avoid hydroplaning after riding in a large puddle? By not riding in that large puddle at all.

If you can, try to swerve or turn away from the puddle.

2. Slow down

image of motorcycle throttle

Sometimes, however, you can’t avoid the puddle. Perhaps there’s an oncoming car that prevents you from swerving to the side.

But don’t fret – all you have to do is ease off the throttle

It will give the tire time to dispose of the water and regain the lost traction.

3. Inspect your tire tread depth before you set off

Your tires have a special groove cut into them known as the “tire tread depth.” It might not seem that relevant, but it’s the complete opposite, actually.

It’s the groove that helps you maintain traction as the water enters and eventually leaves while the tires are rolling. 

There’s only one little catch:

As the tire wears out, this tire tread groove gets more shallow.

The less tread the grooves have, the less effective the tire will be to get rid of excessive water. 

For this reason, many countries have laws about the legal minimum tread depth. For example, the minimum legal tire tread depth in Sweden is 1 mm. 

The easiest and quickest way to check your tire tread depth is by using a tire tread gauge.

What to do if you still hydroplane

The good news is that if your tires are in good shape, you’ve slowed down or even avoided water puddles altogether, your risks of hydroplaning are reduced dramatically. 

But even if you should happen to hydroplane, there’s one vital thing to keep in mind:

Don’t apply the brakes.