Hydroplaning Accidents – Driver Safety

Hydroplaning accidents are highly preventable. Hydroplaning is when a lawyer of water forms between the rubber tire of a motor vehicle and the surface of the road. The speed of the motor vehicle causes the tire to lose traction with the pavement and ‘ride’ on a thin lawyer of water. This in turn prevents proper braking, traction, and maneuvering. In fact, all operations of a motor vehicle which change its direction or speed are accomplished through the friction between vehicle tire and roadway. When a vehicle hydroplanes, this friction is lost and the vehicle becomes uncontrollable.

Automobile tires are specifically designed to handle rainy conditions.  The tires are specifically designed to disburse water from underneath the tire to allow friction between the tire and pavement. Hydroplaning occurs when three is too much water under the tire for the treads to disburse. As the water pressure to the front of the tire builds, it forces a wedge of water under the tire and lifts it from the pavement. The tire then begins to ride on the sheet of water and robs the driver of his ability to control the vehicle.

Hydroplaning Risk Factors

  • Bald Tires – Bald tires are tires that have worn out their treads. Treads are specifically geared to disburse the water under the tire and keep the vehicle in contact with the roadway. Bald tires with worn out treads have a decreased ability to remove water from under the tire and keep the vehicle from hydroplaning. It is important bald tires are replaced in order to prevent hydroplaning.
  • Standing Water – As the depth of standing water increases, so does the changes of hydroplaning. Tire treads are only capable of removing a certain amount of water under a tire. If a tire is overloaded with water, it will begin to ride atop the water and prevent vehicle control. Rainy driving conditions are a major factor in hydroplaning crashes.
  • Driver’s Speed – The faster a vehicle travels, the more water must be removed from below the tire. If a driver’s speed increases beyond the treads ability to remove the water, hydroplaning will occur.  It is important to remember to slow down to prevent hydroplaning.

How to Recover Vehicle Control After Hydroplaning

Once your vehicle begins to hydroplane, split second reactions can save lives. If your vehicle is hydroplaning and remains in a straight direction of travel, the vehicle controls will begin to feel slightly loose. In this scenario, minor adjustments to vehicle controls will have no effect. Large adjustments to vehicle controls may cause the vehicle to spin out of control. If all 4 wheels of the vehicle hydroplane at once, your vehicle will begin to drift to the direction of tilt of the road or turn.

The most important thing to remember is: Do not panic. Often, there is a small amount of standing water on the road which you will pass right over. Once your vehicle has crossed the standing water, the tires will regain contact with the pavement and allow the driver control of the vehicle. Driver’s have a tendency to jerk the wheel in one direction or another when the loose feeling of hydroplaning occurs. This can have devastating effects when the vehicle regains contact with the road. This is a common cause of Missouri rollover accidents. A hydroplaning driver should attempt to keep the vehicle traveling in a straight direction, do not apply sudden braking and gently ease off the accelerator. In those situations where braking is absolutely necessary to prevent a collision, a gentle pumping of the brakes is recommended. The best way to prevent hydroplaning is to exercise caution and slow down when conditions for hydroplaning are present.

Despite your best efforts, other drivers may not posses the capabilities and tools to prevent hydroplaning. If you are injured by a hydroplaning vehicle, it is important that you understand your rights. Missouri drivers are responsible for the injuries they cause as a result of their hydroplaning vehicles.  Missouri semi-truck accidents are often caused by hydroplaning trucks. If you have been injured by a hydroplaning vehicle, contact Missouri accident lawyer Christopher R. Dixon at 314.409.7060, or toll free at 855.402.7274. Personal injury case intake specialists are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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