Can a Semi-Truck Hydroplane?

June 23, 2020

Whether it occurs in Easton or elsewhere in the state, the answer is yes, it can. You’d think that a vehicle with 18 wheels would be able to maintain contact with a road surface, especially when fully-loaded, yet hydroplaning is a very real danger, even for semi-trucks. According to Miriam-Webster, the definition of hydroplaning is “to skid on a wet surface (such as pavement) because a film of water on the surface causes the tires to lose contact with it.” 

In other words, hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle, even a vehicle as large as a semi-truck, is traveling on a thin layer of water instead of the actual road surface. Even a fractional amount of water, or “film,” underneath the tires can cause a vehicle to slide out of control. The danger is perhaps even greater for those vehicles around a hydroplaning truck, as they are typically smaller vehicles and may have trouble avoiding such a large truck that is out of control. If you’ve been involved in an accident, let our Easton truck accident attorney help.

Three main factors contribute to hydroplaning:

  1. Water depth,
  2. Tire tread depth, and
  3. Vehicle speed.

Despite the fact that water depth is one of these factors, hydroplaning is most common during the initial stages of a rainstorm, when the accumulating water mixes with the oil that has spilled onto the roadway during dry weather. As the rain continues to wash away this oil, the roadways become more reliable.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Hydroplaning in Easton

To reduce or even prevent hydroplaning in Easton and elsewhere, all motorists, and especially semi-truck drivers, should follow these steps:

  • Replace worn tires. Worn and balding tires are especially susceptible to hydroplaning.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Low tire pressure leads to less control over your vehicle.
  • Drive slowly. Everyone should slow down in bad weather, keeping an especially safe distance between your vehicle and vehicles around you.
  • Avoid puddles and other areas of standing water.
  • Avoid sharp turns. Take turns slowly and as widely as is possible while staying within your driving lane.
  • Turn off cruise control. Driving your vehicle in the traditional fashion, using your feet to control your speed and braking, helps keep you more in touch with the conditions around you and allows you to react faster.
  • Use a lower gear when possible. This likely isn’t an option on the freeway, but on back roads and city streets, a lower gear will help you navigate turns and steep hills.
  • Avoid sudden stops and acceleration.

Semi-trucks are particularly dangerous when they hydroplane, not only because of their sheer weight and size but also because of the difficulty in controlling such a large vehicle when hydroplaning occurs. Even experienced long-haul truckers can have trouble coming out of a sideways skid caused by hydroplaning.

Perhaps your best bet is to give semi-trucks as wide a berth as possible during inclement weather. Nonetheless, accidents caused by semi-truck hydroplaning are bound to happen, and if you find yourself involved in such an accident, an Easton truck accident attorney can help.

Contact an Easton Truck Accident Attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis

The attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis can help you examine your options and decide what your best course of action is when you have been involved in an accident. If you need our help contact us online.