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What to Do If Your Car Hydroplanes

Categorized as Auto Accidents

Hydroplaning is one of those tricky vehicular problems you hear about on the first day of driver’s education class. While many drivers perform by the book, accidents do happen and many times they’re out of our control. As bad weather and bad driving go hand in hand, it’s always important to keep track of things you can do if you’re caught in the heavy rains we’ve seen here in Kansas City.

Below you’ll find some questions we’ve received at Peterson Law Firm along with helpful tips and tricks to remember when driving through a downpour.

If you or anyone you know has been injured in a weather-related auto accident, please call our experienced auto attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

What is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning occurs when road water creates a barrier between a car’s tire and the road surface, resulting in the loss of traction. The tire’s treads are unable to remove water fast enough from the tire itself and this creates a wedge of water pressure resulting in the tire lifting from the road. In turn, this causes issues with the breaking and steering mechanisms until the tires are able to gain traction on the road. This often happens during the first 10 minutes of a light rainstorm when oil residue is added to the mix, which can cause a lot of unexpected problems in an instant.

Another type of hydroplaning called hydrodynamic drag occurs when the tires on one side of a car pass through an accumulation of deep water and suddenly slow. This causes the car to pull towards the side of the water, resulting in the loss of control until traction is regained.

How Can You Avoid Hydroplaning?

The three things to remember are speed, road, and tires.

  • Speed: While hydroplaning can still occur at low speeds, the slower the better; driving at an excess of 35 mph is likely too fast during these conditions.
  • Road: When driving, stay away from the sides of the road where water tends to accumulate. Turn off cruise control, avoid hard breaking, beware of sharp turns, and try to drive in the tracks left by the cars in front of you.
  • Tires: Be sure that your tires are properly maintained and inflated and replaced when needed. Generally, narrow tires are better suited for these types of conditions.

How Do You Regain Control?

When your car hydroplanes, it may feel unsteady and begin to veer in different directions. Should this happen, here’s what you can do to regain control quickly and effectively.

  1. Remain calm – waiting out a skid is the best way to handle hydroplaning. Be sure to avoid sharp wheel turns or break slams.
  2. Slow down the acceleration by easing off the gas
  3. Turn into the skid and steer the car in the direction you want it to go while avoiding the temptation of sharp turns and overcorrections

What Legal Remedies Do You Have?

Many hydroplane accidents can be caused by poor design, construction, or maintenance of the roadways, particularly the poor upkeep of drainage systems that can cause excess water flows. Other factors could involve the improper tire care, excessive speeds, or general negligence.

Through Peterson Law Firm, our team of researchers, litigators, and specialists understand that weather hazards and accidents are all too common and can have catastrophic repercussions. As a result, we strive do our best – not only to diagnose the cause of your accident but also to ensure you receive the legal remedy deserved.