What to do if Your Car Hydroplanes

As you are driving on slippery pavement—whether wet or icy—water or ice collects ahead of the vehicle’s front tires. Sometimes, the tread on these tires is unable to disperse the water or ice. As a result, the wheels lift off of the pavement, similar to how a water skier skims across the surface of water. When this happens with a car, it is referred to as hydroplaning.

What is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning happens when the tires on your vehicle lose contact with the pavement. When the front wheels of the vehicle are no longer in contact with the pavement, you lose your ability to steer the car effectively. The result could be that the vehicle you are in starts rotating sideways and becomes out of your immediate control.

Risks of Hydroplaning    

Not only is hydroplaning a terrifying experience, but it is also a dangerous one. When the pavement is covered with slush or wet, you are always at risk for hydroplaning. Even worse, there is no way to predict if or when this might happen. There are several factors, however, that can reduce your risk of hydroplaning. The biggest factor, not surprisingly, is the speed of your vehicle. While you do not need to be going fast to hydroplane (hydroplaning can happen at even 30 MPH), as your car’s speed increases to 50 MPH or higher on a wet or icy surface, the risk of hydroplaning increases significantly.

What to do When You Hydroplane

Hydroplaning can be scary, but your initial reaction when you realize this is happening is crucial to keeping yourself safe. To help prevent a hydroplane-related car accident in Nevada, you should try to do the following:

  • To keep your car’s tires pointed straight down the road, gently turn your steering wheel in the direction that your car is sliding;

  • Resist the urge to slam on your brakes, as this will increase your car’s skid;

  • Slowly take your foot of the accelerator so that your vehicle slows down until you can have a sense of when the tires gain traction again;

  • If you have to hit the brakes, only do so by tapping the pedal until the vehicle has slowed down enough so you can apply more brake pressure without skidding;

  • Look forward and steer the vehicle where you want it to go.

Beyond trying the above when your car is in the middle of hydroplaning, there are some precautions you can take to avoid this situation and a resulting Nevada car accident. These include:

  • Do not drive your vehicle with worn out tires;

  • When conditions are wet—especially if there is standing water—drive more slowly;

  • Allow for extra space between your car and others on the road when conditions are wet or icy;

  • Turn off your car’s cruise control if you are driving on a wet or slippery road;

  • Try to stay in the inner lanes as the outer lanes collect more water and ice;

  • Avoid making any sharp or quick turns.

Nevada Personal Injury Attorneys

Even if you take all of these precautions, you may still be involved in a Nevada car accident after your vehicle hydroplanes. If you or someone you care about has experienced hydroplaning resulting in a Nevada accident, contact the seasoned personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau. Do not try to handle this on your own. Contact our law firm today.

(image courtesy of Sebastian Pociecha)

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