RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: Avoiding Hydroplaning Accidents
Given the almost daily deluge of rain we have been experiencing, hydroplaning is a very real problem for which all drivers must be prepared. Hydroplaning occurs when the vehicle’s tire-to-road traction becomes separated by water. This grip separation results in a loss of control (braking and steering), which can result in a violent accident.
While hydroplaning can happen on any wet road surface, tire tread, tire inflation and speed are the key factors in causing hydroplaning to occur. According to the American Automobile Association, “when driving through just one-twelfth of an inch of water, each of your tires has to displace one gallon of water per second.” So, when the road surface is wet, you need to choose an appropriate speed that will displace enough road surface water, that allows your vehicle to maintain proper traction. “At 30 mph or less, properly inflated tires with good tread will maintain contact.” While low tire pressure causes the tread to “squeeze together, narrowing the tread channels and reduces the tire’s ability to wipe or channel away water,” even with good tread and properly inflated tires, a vehicle can begin to hydroplane at speeds above 35 mph.
Below are six tips every driver should remember when driving on a wet surface.
Avoid driving in the outer edges of a roadway. Most roadways have a slight “crown” in the middle of the road which causes water to accumulate on the edge of the roadway. Try to stay more toward the middle of the road.
Try to drive in the tire tracks left by other vehicles in front of you. The other vehicle’s tires will have displaced some road surface water allowing more space for your tires to maintain traction on the roadway.
Lower your speed below 35 mph and put your emergency lights on.
Turn off cruise control. While cruise control works great in dry conditions, this feature can increase your chances of losing control of your vehicle when the road surface is wet.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated and you have adequate tread on each tire.
Avoid hard braking and making sharp or quick turns.
On top of these six tips, remember that there is no appointment or meeting so important to risk injury to you, a loved one or others on the roadway. If you are caught in a downpour and don’t feel comfortable driving through the storm, put your emergency lights on and pull to the side of the road until the rain passes.
At Drake, Hileman & Davis, our personal injury attorneys have been concerned for the safety of those in our community for more than 30 years. We have been helping the injured find answers, whenever accidents happen. We have a proven track record of results and satisfied clients. We’re ready to answer your questions and provide you with the legal help you need. Contact us on-line or call us at 1-888-777-7098 to schedule your free consultation in the convenience of your home or at one of our five offices located throughout the region.