What does it mean to hydroplane?

Rain, melting snow, and man-made flooding—such as testing or draining fire hydrants—can all cause treacherous wet-road conditions that can put you and your family at risk. When pavement gets wet, the water mixes with dirt, oil, and debris, creating a slippery sheet across the road. This sheet can cause your tires to lose traction and control, hurtling into other vehicles.

According to the National Weather Service, thousands of drivers and passengers are seriously injured every year in D.C. and Virginia due to hydroplaning on the Beltway, around Dupont Circle, and other busy roadways.

What Is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning occurs when your tires are unable to displace large amounts of water in order to gain traction, and your vehicle winds up sledding across sheets of water.

In light rain, or when going over small puddles, the force and speed of your tires will push water behind and under your tires; then your tire treads will squeeze the liquid outward. However, when you’re speeding, when the rain is coming down too fast, or when there is a lot of water on the pavement, your tires can’t move the water aside fast enough in order to grip the road. Therefore, instead of making contact with actual pavement, your tires are essentially spinning on top of a layer of water. This causes your car to slip, slide, and skid. Forget braking: your tires have no traction to bring the car to a stop.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that hydroplaning causes nearly 500,000 accidents a year because of drivers failing to adjust their speeds and actions to compensate for the risks. These risks include:

  • Loss of traction
  • Increased stopping distance—if able to stop at all
  • Loss of steering control
  • Increased travel force if vehicle is going too fast. The faster you drive into a skid, the more force will be applied during a collision
  • Spinning increase if you attempt to turn out of the slide

Gaining Traction in Your Flood Accident Injury Case

Although no one can control the weather, you can control your own actions when poor weather presents dangerous situations. The next time you’re driving and come across large amounts of water on the road, make sure you take precautions to avoid hydroplaning. Remember: slow down; drive around puddles if possible and safe; and don’t take risks, especially if there are other vehicles around.

It doesn’t matter if you think your car can probably handle it, because if you’re wrong and wind up hurting yourself or someone else, you’ll have to live with that mistake for the rest of your life. Don’t take the chance—be cautious and mindful to protect yourself, your family, and others.

Just as you can’t change the weather, you also can’t control other people’s actions. If another driver fails to take weather conditions into account, you may end up suffering. However, if you or your family has suffered injuries as a result of a negligent hydroplaning accident, you can help control the aftermath. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your accident injury claim. Our experience and fortitude can help you gain control of the situation and make sure you get the traction to move forward. Don’t allow an insurance company to keep your wheels spinning. Call now to get the compensation and justice you deserve.

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