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Fatal Clarke County Hydroplaning Auto Accident Provides Important Lessons

February 27, 2012

While we have previously discussed the danger of weather-related auto accidents in this blog, it bears revisiting in the wake of a fatal Clarke County road accident at the end of last year, caused by a vehicle that hydroplaned before colliding with another vehicle.

The fatal accident occurred shortly after midnight according to an Athens-Clarke County police spokesman. According to reports in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Angela Ellington lost control of her vehicle in a curve when it hydroplaned and crossed over into the adjacent lane in the path of traffic moving in the opposite direction. Ellington’s vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by Haley Dodd of Commerce. Both Ellington and Priscilla Mathis, a passenger in her vehicle, died from their injuries at the scene of the car accident.

When driving during heavy Atlanta rainstorms that leave the roadway wet and covered in a layer of water or puddles, there is a high risk of hydroplaning caused by lack of traction. The force caused by tires pushing against the roadway surface is referred to as traction, which is what propels one’s car forward. Traction is essentially the resistance to the spinning motion of the tires when the engine of the vehicle spins the axle causing torque. When the roadway is wet, water can provide a lubricant that reduces the traction by causing tires to slip. This process is referred to as hydroplaning.

One function of the tire treads is to move water to the sides of the tire and increase traction. Increased traction increases stopping ability and reduces the risk of a vehicle slipping sideways on the roadway. When the roadway is wet, it is essential to drive slower because the faster tires spin the greater the torque, which promotes tire slippage particularly on curves similar to the Clarke County accident. This danger can be reduced substantially by carefully monitoring one’s tire treads, which can direct the water to the sides of the tire to prevent the loss of traction that results in an Atlanta or Georgia hydroplaning accident.

The Atlanta and Georgia auto accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates urge drivers to slow down when driving in rainy weather or while the roads are still wet. It is also important to slow down even further when driving at night and negotiating curves with wet road conditions. We understand that no matter what precautions are taken, there is always a risk of being involved in a Georgia auto accident. If you or a family member is hurt in a collision in Atlanta or Georgia, we invite you to speak to our knowledgeable legal team at Montlick and Associates for a Free Consultation.

Our Atlanta auto accident lawyers are 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.