Last week in this blog, we talked about a car accident which seriously injured three Lafayette High School students. The accident was caused by another car hydroplaning. In this post, we'll talk about what causes hydroplaning and give some tips on how to prevent it.
Hydroplaning occurs during wet weather when the tires of a car lose contact with the pavement and ride on a film of water. Contrary to popular belief, hydroplaning does not occur only at high speeds. New tires can lose contact with the road at 35 miles per hour. And, hydroplaning does not require a thick layer of water on the road. As little as one-twelfth of an inch of water can cause the tires to displace one gallon of water every second.
The best way to avoid hydroplaning is to slow down when the road surface is wet. If possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator. Drivers should avoid braking hard, which can cause the car to skid. It's also important to increase following distances in wet conditions to allow enough room to stop in an emergency.
Drivers should never use cruise control in wet conditions. When a car hydroplanes, the wheels spin more slowly. Cruise control reacts to this by opening the throttle, increasing the risk of losing control.
Of course, all of these tips can't prevent another vehicle from hydroplaning and hitting yours. When a negligent driver fails to slow down due to wet conditions and causes an accident, injured victims should know their legal rights. If you are involved in a car accident, you may wish to speak with a personal injury attorney regarding the incident.
Source: American Automobile Association, "Wet Weather Driving Tips," accessed Feb. 20, 2017