Who’s at Fault in a Hydroplaning Accident?
Driving in heavy rain is dangerous because it makes the roads slippery and reduces visibility. These factors dramatically increase the risk of car accidents, including rear-end and single-vehicle accidents caused by hydroplaning. The first 10 minutes of rain are the most dangerous time for rain-related car accidents because the oil from the roadway comes up and mixes with the water, making a very slippery surface.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is when water stays between the tire and the road, disconnecting the tire from the road and making the car glide on top of the water. (Normally water flows through the tire’s tread and is then brushed aside). Drivers struggle to maintain control of their vehicles while hydroplaning because the drag from the water pulls one side of the vehicle making the tires on the other side slow down. This pulls the vehicle in the direction of the slower side and makes the car spin.
How do I Avoid Hydroplaning?
Use these tips from Safe Motorist to avoid hydroplaning:
- Check that your tires are properly inflated.
- Rotate tires on a regular schedule.
- Check for worn tire tread and replace tires as necessary.
- Slow down when driving in the rain or on wet roads because the faster you drive, the harder it is for your tires to scatter the water.
- Avoid driving through puddles and standing water if you can. If not, slow way down while driving through.
- Avoid driving in outer lanes where water is more likely to build up.
- Look for tire tracks left by cars in front of you and try to drive in them.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Drive in a lower gear.
- Avoid braking hard.
- Avoid making sharp or quick turns.
Who’s at fault in a hydroplaning accident?
Each hydroplaning accident is different. There are three main parties who can be held responsible for a hydroplaning accident:
- The driver. In some cases the driver will be at fault because they drove with bald or under-inflated tires which are much more likely to hydroplane than new tires with deep treads. Other factors that could make the driver responsible include speeding or driving too fast for road conditions or braking too aggressively.
- The manufacturer. In some cases, the tire manufacturer can be held responsible for producing defective tires. If it can be shown that the manufacturer knowingly distributed a tire that did not meet safety standards (for example, from results of internal testing) then they may have acted negligently and could be held liable for accidents.
- The city. In some cases the city can be held responsible for the hydroplaning accident because of a poorly designed or not-maintained road. If it can be shown that the city knowingly failed to clear gutters or failed to fix design flaws that caused water to build-up on roads the city may have acted negligently and could be held liable for accidents.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced personal injury attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!