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Aquaplaning and What You Need to Know When Driving a Rig...

In Australia, Summer means storm season and with it, the dangers of driving on wet roads. If you are considering going for your truck licence you will probably be familiar with aquaplaning. This occurs when a layer of water builds up between the wheels of your vehicle and the road surface which prevents your vehicle from responding to your control.

There's a good chance you have heard the standard advice on this topic before: reduce your speed, avoid standing water, ensure that your tyres have enough tread and ensure your tyres are inflated properly.

Why is tyre pressure important?

If your tyres are under inflated, the centre of the tyre will deflect upwards which lifts the tyre up off the road. Over inflation will result in the opposite situation where the edge of the tyre will lift off the road. Both of these situations will reduce the size of the contact area with the road. If the tyres of your vehicle are inflated correctly and load is added to the vehicle, the contact area will be the largest. This is important because the longer and thinner the contact patch with the road, the less likely the tyre will aquaplane.

Special considerations for semi trailers.

Semi trailers have an increased likelihood of experiencing uneven aquaplaning caused by an uneven weight distribution. If a trailer is unloaded it will aquaplane sooner than the cab that is pulling it.

Balance your load and check your tyres for wear and pressure regularly and consider driving a little bit slower if you have just dropped off a heavy load during wet weather. The roads may not have changed, but your rig has and it's going to aquaplane just a little more easily with the decreased load gone and the contact area smaller.

To become an expert at driving your rig in wet weather, contact Purple Truck Driving School.

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