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Hydroplaning and Car Crash Risks

They say that April showers bring May flowers. But April showers can also bring heavy rains and flooded streets. This can make driving especially dangerous and put you at an increased risk of being in a car crash.

Wet roads can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. This is when water that is on the surface of the road in front of the vehicle gathers quicker than the tires can push it out of the way. When this happens, the water pressure causes the vehicle to elevate and slide on the layer of water, blocking the tires direct contact with the surface of the road. The vehicle can lose complete traction, causing the driver to lose control.

Hydroplaning can happen even when there is not a large amount of water on the road. Studies show that the one of the most common frequent time hydroplaning occurs is within the first ten minutes of rain when the water combines with oil residue that builds up on road surfaces. This can happen even in light rain.

Hydroplaning Car Crashes

According to statistics, more than 20 percent of crashes are weather-related each year. One out of every four accident deaths and almost 450,000 car crash injuries are caused by bad weather accidents. Almost half of those bad weather crashes happened during rainy weather and 75 percent occurred on wet roads.

There are several factors which contribute to hydroplaning. These include:

  • Braking
  • Pavement texture
  • Rainfall duration and intensity
  • Road grade
  • Steering
  • Tire inflation
  • Tread wear
  • Vehicle speed
  • Water depth
  • Wheel track depth

If you are driving and your vehicle begins to hydroplane, knowing what to do can help prevent a crash:

  1. Do not slam on the brakes. In fact, do not use the brakes at all since that may cause a sudden loss of control.
  2. Instead of the brakes, simply release the accelerator to allow the vehicle to gradually lose speed on its own.
  3. Make small steering corrections if you are drifting, but do everything you can to just keep going straight forward. Sharper steering wheel movements can cause your vehicle to swerve into another lane. Remember, you’re gliding over water, so your control is limited at best.
  4. As your vehicle starts to slow, you should regain some contact with the road. At that point, you can safely ease onto the brakes.

Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Our personal injury firm has successfully represented many clients who have been injured because of a negligent driver and are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we can help.

Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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