What to Do When Hydroplaning
It’s Spring, and that means rain, but rain and slick roads can happen any time of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are “..5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes – nearly 1,235,000 – are weather-related. Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement).” With that in mind, here’s what to do when hydroplaning occurs.
Hydroplaning is a term that refers to when a car skids or slides on a wet surface, which can be ice, snow, slush, rain, or sleet. The tires on a vehicle have grooves in them, these are the long lines that go around the tire. These grooves have been in tires since the start of the 20th century. These grooves are used to siphon and scatter water away from the contact patch where the tire meets the road. It is this scattering that helps to provide grip and traction. Hydroplaning happens when there is more water (in whatever form) than the tire can scatter. When you hydroplane, it’s because there is too much water to scatter and a thin film of water and separation is created between the vehicle’s tire and the road.
Did you know that one of the most dangerous times on the road for hydroplaning isn’t when it has been raining for hours. It is within the first 10 minutes of rain starting to fall. This is because the oils on the pavement mix with the water and cause especially slippery conditions for all vehicles, especially if you’re going over 30 miles per hour (mph). The vast majority of most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall: 70% on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall (Department of Transportation).
What Can You Do to Avoid Hydroplaning?
- Keep your tires regularly serviced every 5,000-6,000 miles
- Keep your tires properly inflated to prevent uneven wear and warping that can affect your rain channels, which can increase the likelihood of hydroplaning
- Slow down when roads are wet or slick – the faster you go, the harder it is for your rain channels on the tires to siphon water and provide traction
- Avoid puddles and standing water, and if you have to go through them then slow down
- Avoid driving in lanes where water tends to flow or accumulate (look at the topography of the land)
- Try to drive in the tracks of the vehicle tires in front of you
- Avoid hard braking, and quick or sharp turns, which can cause hydroplaning
- Use a lower gear on your vehicle as you slow down
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What to Do When Hydroplaning
- Slow down, remain calm, and remain in control
- Do not slam on the breaks or break quickly
- Ease your foot off the gas pedal and gradually brake
- If you have anti-lock brakes you can break normally
- If you don’t have anti-lock brakes then gently pump the breaks in small controlled movements
If you’ve been hurt by someone in an out of control and hydroplaning vehicle, contact the South Carolina product liability lawyers at the Anastopoulo Law firm. You may be entitled to damages or compensation. Call us at 800-777-777 for a no-cost consultation.