Driving in inclement weather requires extra care and attention. Nearly one in four motor vehicle accidents happen in poor weather. Rain, snow, and wind can impact a driver’s ability to see the road ahead and maintain control of their vehicle. Wet roads can create an especially dangerous scenario called hydroplaning that causes a vehicle to lose traction and potentially veer off the road or collide with another vehicle.
What is Hydroplaning?
When water on the road ahead accumulates more quickly than your vehicle’s tires can disperse it, your tires can lose contact with the surface of the road. This can make it difficult or even impossible to control the vehicle via steering or braking, thus increasing your odds of getting in a wreck.
A common misconception about hydroplaning is that it requires a significant amount of rain to occur. In truth, any amount of water that collects in the roadway can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Light rain also combines with oil residue left behind by motor vehicle traffic to create slick, slippery surface thereby increasing your risk of losing control.
While no one can control the weather, drivers can reduce their accident risk by adjusting driving behavior and making sure their vehicle is well-maintained. It is important to check your tires regularly for proper inflation, as tires with low pressure are especially vulnerable to hydroplaning. Your brakes should always be in good condition to ensure they are effective as possible when stopping in bad weather or other poor road conditions.
If possible, avoid driving through puddles and areas where water has accumulated. When driving in rain or snow, be sure to reduce your speed, increase your following distance, and utilize your headlights to make your vehicle more visible to other drivers and pedestrians. Avoid quick, sharp turns and drive in a lower gear during bad weather. Disengage cruise control to give you better control of your speed.
What to Do if You Hydroplane
Even with a well-maintained vehicle and safe driving habits, you may still lose traction in wet weather. It is important to react with caution to avoid a serious hydroplaning car accident. If you begin to hydroplane, you should:
- Decrease your speed by gradually releasing the accelerator.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes or applying the brakes at all if possible.
- Do your best to steer the car straight, making small corrections if necessary.
- As you regain contact with the road, gently apply the brakes.
Every situation and setting is unique, but these general safety tips can help you avoid a devastating wet weather hydroplaning car accident.
Car accidents are a leading cause of serious injury and death in South Carolina. Some accidents are caused by human error and reckless habits like distracted driving, speeding, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Still other car accidents are caused by poor weather or road conditions.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Seriously Injured in Weather-Related Crashes
The seasoned Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. advocate for victims injured in all types of wrecks. Our skilled team will build the strongest claim possible and position it for the optimal financial compensation so you can move forward and begin the healing process with peace of mind. To schedule a free consultation with a Columbia car accident lawyer at one of our six conveniently located offices, contact us online call 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 today.
We proudly represent injured accident victims throughout South Carolina, including those in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Winnsboro, Summerville, and Lexington, South Carolina.