While aquaplaning is extremely dangerous, there are measures one can take in order to reduce the risk of it happening, or at least keep the loss of traction to a minimum.
The worst is when water builds up between the road and all four wheels, which is what basically turns your car into an out-of-control figure skater. Add high-speed to the mix and it can easily become a life-threatening situation.
Such a crash took place last week when the driver of a Tesla Model 3 decided to keep the car on Autopilot despite the wet conditions outside. Not only that, but he also traveling at highway speeds, with the main display showing 75 mph (120 km/h) right before the car begins to slide and spin.
As Tesla themselves have reiterated many times, Autopilot is merely a driver aid and shouldn’t be considered capable of fully autonomous operation. This incident also shows that there’s very little it can do in case the car loses grip, especially at that speed.
“I Love Tesla, but yes my car crashed on Autopilot. I am okay for the most part and the car is being repaired,” said the owner of the Model 3 in the description of the video, which he posted to YouTube following the crash.
To us, the phrase “but yes my car crashed on Autopilot” sounds a bit like he wasn’t expecting it to, which would have been fair had the weather conditions been optimal. If you ask us, though, this is not the Autopilot’s fault but rather the driver’s who simply went too fast. It’ pure physics: there’s not much the system could do once all four tires lost grip and the car became uncontrollable, is there? Perhaps a fully autonomous car’s AI wouldn’t have permitted that kind of speed – but we’re still away from achieving Level 5 autonomy.