A well known example of hydrodynamic lubrication is the aquaplaning of automobile tires on wet roads. The water is dragged by the tire into the wedge shaped geometry formed between the tire and the road surface, causing hydrodynamic pressure to build up at the front of the tire.

When the pressure is high enough to separate the tire from the road with a thin film of water, the tire loses almost all its grip and slippage is unopposed. The flattening of the tire strongly increases the risk for aquaplaning. To increase the speed at which aquaplaning might occur angled groove patterns effectively disperse the water from the contact patch.

In mechanical engineering hydrodynamic lubrication is very favorable because of the elimination of friction and wear. Whether hydrodynamic lubrication manifests so called stribeck curve is measured, it's a curve that represents the friction as a function of velocity.

In combustion engines engineers succeeded to make most of the components work in the hydrodynamic lubrication regime, for example the main bearings and the piston rings are for the main part hydrodynamically lubricated. In hydrodynamic lubrication it is the lubricant viscosity that makes the difference. The viscosity is a measure for the thickness of the fluid. A high viscosity means that the lubricant is thick. The viscosity of water is much lower than that of oil.