Understanding and Avoiding Hydroplane Accidents
Spring in Houston often means much-needed rain, but it can also mean dangerously wet roads. Even the most experienced drivers can fail to take the necessary precautions when driving on wet pavement and end up in a costly accident. One of the greatest risks on wet roads is that your car will hydroplane, causing you to lose control and crash. We explain how hydroplaning happens and how you can avoid it.
What Causes a Car to Hydroplane?
When a car’s tires encounter more water than it can disperse, water pressure can build up in front of the wheel and push under the tire, causing it to lose contact with the road. When a tire is not in contact with the road surface, the driver will lose the ability to steer or stop, creating a skid. Particularly when this happens at higher speeds, it can lead to a deadly accident.
Cars are most likely to hydroplane in the first 10 minutes after it starts raining. This is because the rain mixes with oily residue on the road, creating slick conditions. When tires are in poor condition and the tread is worn, the car will also be more likely to hydroplane in wet conditions.
Tips to Avoid Hydroplaning
In order to avoid a dangerous hydroplane incident, it is important to adjust your speed for weather conditions. Many drivers are well aware that snow and sleet can create slippery roads, but fail to realize that even light rain can do the same things. Other tips to prevent your car from hydroplaning include the following:
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
- Inspect your tires and replace them when they become worn.
- Slow down on wet roads
- Do not drive through puddles or standing water.
- Avoid driving in outer lanes where water tends to accumulate.
- The car in front of you has already cleared some of the water, so try to drive in his tire tracks.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Avoid sudden braking and sharp turns.
As with driving in any type of adverse weather condition, the key is to slow down and be careful. If you fail to do so in the rain and you hydroplane causing a crash, you may be held accountable for an injured driver’s damages.