The situation when a water wedge forms under your wheel began to be called the term – aquaplaning. In fact, few people plan this wedge, and all the more vaguely understand how to cope with it, if suddenly at some point you suddenly realize that the wheel has lost traction due to a layer of water.
What is a water wedge?
Imagine driving out in or after the rain. If you are driving on a good road, then the water spreads over the asphalt more or less evenly, but when the path folds over a bad surface, then the water accumulates in the depressions.
When your motorcycle tire hasn’t had time to wick moisture away, it builds up in front of the wheel. First, a water cushion is formed, an accumulation of water. The more moisture in front of the wheel, the worse the moisture-wicking grooves do their job. At some point, the water becomes more and more. At a critical moment, the wheel loses grip, because the tire is no longer moving on the road surface, but on water in the literal sense of the word.
Aquaplaning is more dangerous than driving on ice, since the rubber has at least friction on the ice, but not on the water.
What causes a water wedge to be caught?
We think logically, if a wedge is essentially an excessive accumulation of moisture, then it can be obtained either by falling on the surface with excess moisture, or by using rubber that cannot cope with it.
Rubber does not cope with moisture removal in three cases:
- At increased speed
- With a smooth or worn tread
- At low wheel pressure
At an increased speed, everything is simple: we fly into a water obstacle at all pores, our speed is too high and the protector does not physically have time to drain water. It is easier for him to push it in front of him until some of the moisture begins to accumulate under the contact patch.
In the case when the protector does not correspond to the conditions of use or is simply worn out in the giblets, there is simply nothing to remove moisture. Note that even sports motorcycle rubber has been mandated to have moisture-wicking grooves, but this does not mean that they will wick away moisture more efficiently than more prepared rubber. When your tread is worn, the result will be like hitting the road on a track bike on racing slicks. Worn rubber cannot completely drain water from under the wheel.
At low pressure, there is an increase in the contact patch and on the one hand it is good for us. At increased pressure, the wheel quickly and easily cuts into the water surface, even encounters less resistance, but with a tiny contact patch, maneuverability balances on the brink of collapse. With a large contact patch at a reduced pressure, it is more comfortable to ride, but here’s the bad luck – the wheel does not cut through the water surface, but, as it were, steps on it. Swallows the beginning of a puddle, crushing moisture under itself. Hence the expected misfortune that if the grooves did not have time to drain the water, the wedge is formed faster.
How not to get into an accident while aquaplaning?
First, when driving in the rain or after it, you must remember about the possibility of catching a water wedge. It is better to take care of preventing it than to guess later from the ditch why you were skidded and thrown out of the corner.
- The speed must be adequate to suit the road conditions. Before crossing a water hazard, be it a puddle or a flooded section of the road, slow down to optimal speed. There is no need to enter the stream with joyful squeals and the desire to douse everyone around with water, because anything can be under water. Tires need to adapt to changing road conditions.
- The speed change must be smooth. If you add gas when one of the wheels is about to lose traction, you will simply add gasoline to the fire and accelerate the fall. The wheel will inevitably slip and you will hopelessly lose even the opportunity to regain the grip of the tire.
- If braking is necessary, then only the engine! The point is that wheel braking is useless and dangerous in the case of aquaplaning. What is the point of braking with a tire if it has no grip? Moreover, wheel braking can lead to skidding and is unlikely to be controllable if you do not have sufficient experience.
- A minimum of maneuvers. I hope that you are not familiar with the aquaplaning situation in reality, because at this moment the motorcycle just seems to float above the water and from that moment it no longer belongs to you. The main task is to maintain balance. The lack of grip will make the motorcycle indifferent to any of your cornering manipulations. An attempt to turn by tilting will completely lead to the wheel slipping off the axis of motion, because it does not hold anything but water.
The most successful option when you do not have a serious need to maneuver. Then you just let the motorcycle catch its breath, overcome the water surface to a relatively dry surface.
A way out of the situation: do not panic, do not make sudden unnecessary gestures, have a constant speed or reduce it due to engine braking and keep balance.