Hydroplaning – How to Avoid it and What to do if it Happens
The complete lack of control a driver has while hydroplaning makes it one of the most frightening experiences someone can have in a car. Living in Washington has made us much more adept at driving in the rain, but as the weather gets worse, we need to be even more careful. As a Bellevue personal injury lawyer, some of the worst auto accidents I have seen were the result of a driver losing control of his or her vehicle in the rain. To reduce the risk of these accidents happening and the injuries that they cause, it is important for everyone to know how to reduce their chance of hydroplaning, and what to do if it starts to happen anyways.
Reducing the risk: A car hydroplanes when its tires lose grip with the road and slide across the water that covers it. One of the most important factors in causing this to happen is the speed of the vehicle. Once a car reaches a certain speed, driving in the rain becomes basically the same thing as driving on ice. Water can buildup underneath the tire when speed increases, and at a certain point, the weight of the vehicle is no longer great enough to maintain traction on the road. While speeding is a common cause of hydroplaning, it does as much harm to slam on the brakes in the rain. Sudden breaking in the rain will usually result in the car skidding, and the driver losing all control of his or her vehicle. To make sure you don’t have to do this, always keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
The quality of your tires is also one of the most important factors in hydroplaning. Worn down tires lack tread, and thus the ability to disperse water from underneath the tires. Amongst the key components in driving safely in wet conditions are tread depth and pattern, along with the tire size and pressure.
What to do if your vehicle hydroplanes: While the risk of hydroplaning can be significantly reduced by driving slower and having good tires, it is also very important to know exactly what to do if you start to lose control of your vehicle. It is not always easy to know if you are hydroplaning, but when it is serious, you will be able to easily recognize the lack of power you have over what your vehicle is doing. When this happens, the crucial things to avoid doing are immediately slamming on the breaks, and turning the steering wheel. Both of these can force your car to skid and potentially turn sideways. What you should do, is hold the steering wheel tightly in a straight-forward direction, and ease off the accelerator. If you feel your rear tires hydroplaning, you can turn the steering wheel into the skid to regain traction, but immediately turn the wheel back forward once you do. If your car has an anti-lock braking system, you can brake normally to slow down the car. For vehicles that do not have ABS, the best way to stop is by lightly pumping the brake.
Hydroplaning is very dangerous and can lead to serious car accident injuries. If you have been hit by someone who was hydroplaned and would like to speak with an experienced Sammamish car accident lawyer, give our office a call at (206) 285-1743
This information is provided by Straight Talk Law, where you can order free information on Seattle auto accidents, buying Washington car insurance, and other valuable legal information, offered as a public service by King county personal injury attorney and author Jason Epstein and his Seattle auto accident, Everett motorcycle accident, and Bellevue wrongful death law firm in Seattle, Washington.
Want others to hear the straight talk on Washington personal injury law? Click the button below to let the world know!
Insurance Coverage Disputes
Spinal Cord Injuries
Pedestrian, Bicylcle and Crosswalk Accidents
Fill out the form below for a free, no obligation consultation about your personal injury legal needs