When summer and spring rains begin to fall down it also brings the richness of new lives, flowers blooming…and accidents. According to the Autoinsurance.org, there are approximately 1,561,430 weather-related accidents each year; of this, 57% are not reported. Additionally, this break down accounts for 673,000 and 7,400 fatalities annually. What is the biggest culprit behind many of these accidents?
Hydroplaning. This refers to the sliding or skidding of a vehicle’s tires across a wet road and as drivers in Houston, Texas can attest, it is a common occurrence here. Hydroplaning will occur when the tire encounters a road that is exceptionally wet, and as such, it cannot scatter all of the water. The water is then pushed under the tire and the tire is then lifted, or separated, from the surface of road.
There remains little doubt on the problems that can occur with hydroplaning. You will not only experience loss of braking, steering, and overall control of the vehicle, but this can also lead to potential accidents, which can even be fatal.
Thus, it is essential to take the following steps to avoid hydroplaning:
- Avoid excessively bad weather when you can avoid it! Inclement weather not only reduces visibility, but it can cause wet and potentially unsafe roads.
- Slow down! Experts agree that most hydroplaning occurs when vehicles are travelling at a speed that is higher than 35 mph.
- Ensure that your tires are properly inflated.
- Rotate and balance your tires accordingly.
- Replace tires when necessary. Also keep in mind that some tires are specifically designed to prevent hydroplaning. The additional cost may be worth it to potentially prevent accidents.
- Avoid using the cruise control feature in the rain.
- Avoid driving through puddles or standing water.
- Stay away from outer lanes, as that is where water is most likely to accumulate.
- When available, attempt to drive in the track tires of the car in front of you.
- Drive in a lower gear.
- Avoid hard breaking completely.
- Avoid making quick or sharp turns!
Of course, the most important rule of all is – drive carefully! As mentioned, at times it may be best simply to avoid driving in inclement weather altogether. If you are uneasy or unsure about the level of standing water, how severe the weather will be on your return trip, or simply think the weather might make the road conditions bad – attempt to reschedule your trip!
So what should you do if you are hydroplaning?
Step 1: Stay calm! Panicking will not only make it worse, but it could also cause you to react in a counterproductive way, resulting in a more serious injury.
Step 2: Immediately ease your foot off of the gas pedal.
Step 3: Cautiously steer your car towards the direction of the road. This will help reroute you.
Step 4: Wait until you feel your tires on the road again! If you have anti-lock brakes use them gently, otherwise slow to a crawl.
Step 5: If applicable, pull to the side of the road and check for damages!
The accident attorneys at the Baumgartner Law Firm help families after serious injury accidents, call them for a no obligation consultation- (281) 587-1111.
Baumgartner Law Firm
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy
Houston, Texas 77069