hydroplaning accidents

Hydroplaning Accidents, sometimes called aquaplaning or planing are caused when a driver loses control of the steering wheel because a layer of water on the roadway prevents direct contact between the tires and the road surface. This loss of friction is caused because the tire cannot move the water out of the way fast enough. The driver becomes unable to brake or steer, which means the driver is out of control of the vehicle. The vehicle either skids until it crashes into something or until the tires regain traction with the road. Hydroplaning accidents can happen to anyone but occur most commonly in flooded roadways, heavy rain conditions, or when a vehicle is speeding and tires are in poor repair. Hydroplaning becomes a risk when the water depth on the road is over a tenth of an inch and the vehicle is moving at 50 miles per hour or more. The best safety measure is to slow down in wet conditions.

Hydroplaning is a common cause of car accidents. Tire manufacturers are always working on new tire tread designs to help whisk away water and make a path for the tire while engineers work on new highway designs and materials to lessen the chances of hydroplaning. Roads should ideally be built with enough cross-slope and grade so that water runs off of them instead of pooling. Real concrete roads are the best choice of material because they can be built with grooves or tines which can reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

What to Do if you start to Hydroplane

If you are driving and begin to hydroplane the best thing to do is to stay calm and avoid panicking. Use these hydroplaning safety tips:

  • Don’t over-steer, steer just enough to keep the vehicle moving forward
  • Take your foot off of the gas pedal
  • Don’t slam on the brakes; let the vehicle slow down on its own
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly and keep the nose of the vehicle pointed straight ahead

Know Your Vehicle

Does your car have regular or anti-lock brakes?

If you find yourself starting to hydroplane you will want to know whether you have regular or anti-lock brakes, as they require different techniques. With regular brakes you will want to pump lightly and rapidly. With anti-lock breaks you will want to break normally but not too forcefully. Hopefully after taking this action your vehicle’s tires will regain contact with the road.

Avoid using cruise control in very rainy weather because you would need to hit the brakes to disable it and that could be dangerous in a hydroplaning situation.

A hydroplaning car accident can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle as well as put you at risk for personal injury. A car accident lawyer can help you get the damages you need to recover your losses.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!