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Rainy Weather Can Cause Serious Hydroplane Car Crashes

June 15, 2011

We frequently hear the term hydroplaning and associate it with rain-soaked streets and serious Atlanta car crashes. Hydroplaning on a wet road can cause a severe car crash on Atlanta streets.

When a car is hydroplaning, the driver has lost control of the vehicle. Hydroplaning is caused when a build up of water on a roadway is deep enough that it causes the tires of the vehicle to lose contact with the road. This results in complete loss of control by the driver because that loss of friction also causes a loss of steering and braking control of the vehicle. The speed and severity of this effect depends on factors like tire tread wear, speed of the vehicle and volume of water accumulated on the road.

When a car starts to hydroplane, the driver may not even realize what is happening right away. A driver may experience nothing more than the sensation that there is suddenly more play in the steering wheel. The driver may not realize what is occurring until he or she feels the back end of the car start to slightly sway side to side. A driver’s first instinct is often to brake or to try and steer out of the situation. This response is a dangerous and frequently fatal mistake. If a driver brakes or steers suddenly while the car is already starting to slide on top of the water, it will more than likely throw the car into a skid.

Many experts advise that the best thing to do when a car starts to hydroplane is to ease one’s foot off of the gas pedal and hold the steering wheel steady as if steering straight ahead. When the car slows down enough, the vehicle’s tires should regain traction with the roadway allowing the driver to regain control. A better option than recovering from a hydroplane hazard is to avoid the situation entirely. The best thing for a driver to do when confronted with abnormally wet weather conditions on the road is to just slow down. A car is more likely to hydroplane when traveling at higher speeds. It is obviously easier to control a slower moving vehicle. Further, there will likely be less damage and injury when traveling at slower speeds if there is a hydroplaning accident.

Another way to reduce the risk of hydroplaning is to look for cars in front of you that are kicking up major plumes of water from their back tires. This is a sure sign that there is a lot of water on the road. A driver also should not travel too close to the vehicel in front of him or her. If it is one of those downpours where it is almost impossible to see out the front window, it is best to pull off the road until the rain passes.

Even a vehicle with all wheel drive (AWD) is not immune from skidding in these conditions. AWD vehicles have computer assisted differentials and reporetdly are more likely to hydroplane than two wheel drive vehicles. When there is a sudden uncontrolled transfer of power from the front tires to the rear tires it can put an AWD vehicle out of control.

Drivers also need to make sure that their tires are not worn out. When tire tread is worn down, it greatly reduces a vehicle’s ability to avoid hydroplaning. The treads on a tire work to channel water through them from the road so if there is no tread there is nothing to move the water away from the tire.

People are killed or injured from accidents caused by hydroplaning every year. The driver of the vehicle that hydroplaned will often claim that he or she had no control over their vehicle and is not at-fault for the Georgia car crash. An experienced Georgia car crash attorney may argue that if the vehicle was hydroplaning that the driver was driving too fast to be in adequate control of the vehicle in an emergency. A driver may also be responsible for an accident where the driver’s vehicle hydroplanes because the owner failed to exercise proper maintenance by replacing their tires after the tread was worn.

In some instances a third party can be held responsible in a hydroplaning accident. The Georgia Department of Transportation potentially can be liable in such car crash cases in Georgia. If the Georgia DOT fails to properly design, construct, and maintain public roadways so that they are safe for travel by the public, it can be held liable for injury or wrongful death of a motorist, especially if they were aware of a problem and neglected to fix it adequately.

If you are seriously injured or a loved one is killed in a Georgia car crash that involves a hydroplaning vehicle, you may have a right to hold the other driver liable for their actions or inaction. It is important to get the aid of an experienced Georgia car crash attorney when seeking a settlement in these types of car crash cases anywhere in Georgia.

If you have been seriously injured or someone you love has suffered wrongful death caused by a weather-related auto accident, such as hydroplaning, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At the law firm of Montlick and Associates, we have been representing those injured in Atlanta car accidents and car accidents throughout all of Georgia for over 37 years. Our knowledgeable and experienced Georgia car crash attorneys will fight hard for your best interests. The Atlanta auto accident law firm of Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.