Hydroplaning Causes Car Crashes: The Dangers of Accidents Driving in the Rain

Posted By on March 3, 2015

Last Update: 01/13/16

It’s wonderful to live in South Florida. We don’t have snow days and we often get to enjoy sunny weather and beautiful sunsets.  We live in a climate and locale that many envy — even though sometimes here in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, we experience lots of rain.  Unfortunately, all of that rain causes our roadways to become a dangerous place to be, especially when the roads are slick or are flooded.

 

Florida saw 15 inches of rainfall in one day during Hurricane Irene in 1999.

 

Car Crashes Caused by Rain

All of this rain means lots of Florida drivers face driving their cars, minivans, trucks, and SUVs on wet and watery streets. Even in the mildest shower, there will be some water that sits on the road for drivers to maneuver.

A lot of times, that sitting water contributes to a car accident brought about by something called “hydroplaning.

What is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning happens when the driver loses control of his or her vehicle on a wet street because a small amount of water has come between the tires and the surface of the street or road. It is defined as:

“A condition where one or more tires of a moving vehicle are separated from the pavement by a film of water; usually due to a combination of depth of water, pavement surface texture, vehicle speed, tread pattern, tire condition, and other factors.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first ten minutes after a light rain is the most dangerous time for a potential wreck from slippery streets. Here, the rain water mixes on the roadway with oil from cars and motor vehicles as well as any oil on the roadway from fresh asphalt.

The combination of rain water and oil on the slippery surface means that the road surface provides less traction for car tires and a high risk of accidents.

If the rain continues for a bit, then the oil mixture washes off the roadway and the road is less slippery. However, danger remains for a car accident.

Now, hydroplaning is possible. Here, the water on the road is sandwiched between the tire treads and the road itself. There’s no traction for the tires to grip and as a result, the driver cannot control where the vehicle goes.

In hydroplaning, turning the wheel does nothing. The driver may not be able to brake and stop the car either.

If you have ever experienced a car that is skidding on a slippery wet street, then you know how terrifying this loss of control can be.

What To Do If You are Hydroplaning

To avoid being caught in a bad situation here in South Florida where it’s raining and you’re slipping out of control on a wet road, remember these safety precautions:

1. Keep your tires properly inflated — if your tires don’t have enough pressure, then they are at a higher risk of hydroplaning on the wet road.

2. Drive slower when it’s raining or when it has just rained and the streets are still wet.

3. Keep a good distance between your car and the car ahead of you in any rainstorm. Remember, other cars can hydroplane into you.

4. If you do feel your tires losing traction, then slow down and resist the temptation to slam on the brakes because that can make the hydroplaning more severe.

5. If you are hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas and begin coasting while slowly putting pressure on the brakes to get your car to slow down — a slower speed will help your tires regain traction with the road’s surface.

What Should You Do Now?

A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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