Fresno: Dangers of Hydroplaning –


Fresno: Dangers of Hydroplaning –

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. With the rainy season beginning in October and lasting through May in Fresno, hydroplaning on the roadways is a real problem. Since accidents are more likely when this happens, let’s look at the dangers of hydroplaning, how to prevent it and deal with it when it occurs.

What Is Hydroplaning?

During the rainy season, the once dry roads with a buildup of dirt and oil residue become slick with precipitation. In the first 10 minutes after a rain begins, which is the most dangerous time for hydroplaning, the rain forces the dirt to the top of the water, making it more difficult for tires to grip the road. In fact, at 60 m.p.h., the tires must dispel a gallon of water per second from under the tire to obtain traction. Since each tread of the tire hits the ground for less than a second, the likelihood of hydroplaning is significant.

What Happens When You Hydroplane

Hydroplaning causes loss of control of both steering and braking. When a vehicle hydroplanes, it makes using the brakes dangerous. If the vehicle has rear wheel drive, depressing the brakes will lock the rear wheels and make you enter a spin. On the other hand, if it is a front-wheel drive vehicle, depressing the brakes will cause you to move in a straight line. On a highway, both results can cause catastrophic injuries.

What to Do When You Hydroplane

If your motor vehicle begins to hydroplane, follow these steps:

  • Turn in the direction of the skid, if possible without causing a collision
  • If on a crowded thoroughfare, look for open space, preferably off the right lane, and steer very gently in that direction
  • With front-wheel drive, depress the accelerator lightly
  • With rear-wheel drive, gradually take your foot off the accelerator
  • Wait for traction to be restored before resuming driving
  • Don’t brake

How to Prevent Hydroplaning

There are ways to prevent hydroplaning:

  • Reduce speed: This is by far the most important factor since driving over 35 m.p.h. increases your chance of hydroplaning exponentially.
  • Avoid Accelerating suddenly: Acceleration, such as when you attempt to pass another vehicle, on a wet road increases your risk of hydroplaning. Maintain a reduced, steady speed.
  • Avoid pooled water spots: Avoid potholes or dips in the road where water pools.
  • Turn off cruise control: Cruise control interprets any slowing as a need for acceleration. When the highway is wet, the water under the wheels slows down your progress. Sudden acceleration orchestrated by cruise control can cause the vehicle to hydroplane.
  • Replace worn out tires: Low tread on tires increases the risk of hydroplaning. See your mechanic to determine the condition of the tires. An easy way to check is to place a Lincoln penny in the tread upside down. If Lincoln’s head is visible, the tires lack sufficient tread.

Accidents Caused by Hydroplaning

Losing the ability to brake or steer a vehicle can lead to serious accidents, even head on collisions. Since approximately 10 percent of all traffic accidents and three quarters of all weather-related accidents are due to wet roadways, knowing how to avoid hydroplaning is important. Careless drivers who negotiate rain-slicked highways at high speeds are often at fault for accidents, causing significant injuries including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.

Fresno Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. When a reckless, negligent driver causes an accident leaving you with serious injuries or may have caused the death of a family member, you need the experience of a seasoned car accident attorney. Phone me at (559) 377-7676 or without charges at (800) 404-5400 for friendly advice that is always free of charge.

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