Hydroplaning Car Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

The snow is starting to melt in Iowa and Illinois and rain is in the forecast. You’ll probably be navigating some roads that are beginning to flood.

When water goes across the roadway, it can present dangerous conditions for drivers.

Hydroplaning car accidents are a common problem during the spring and summer rainy months in the Midwest.

What is hydroplaning? How can you avoid it? And who is at fault if it does happen?

Let’s find out.

What is hydroplaning?

Say you’re driving along the highway when it starts to rain.

At first you’re okay, but eventually the rain keeps coming down harder and harder until the roads start to be unmanageable. A thin layer of water covers the highway and leaves you in danger of hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning happens when your vehicle starts to slide on the wet road and you lose control.

When you’re traveling on the highway or interstate at 65 or 70 mph, the water forms a layer between your tires and the road.

You end up losing traction and control of your car.

How does hydroplaning happen?

As mentioned, one of the main ways that you might end up in a hydroplaning car accident is due to speeding.

Just like when you’re driving on roads covered in snow, you want to be careful driving at high speeds during heavy rain. Road conditions are not ideal, and you should slow down and be cautious during your travels.

Another way you might end up hydroplaning is if you are driving on worn down tires.

In a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they found that, “Data shows that many more vehicles than expected experienced tire problems when driven under adverse roadway conditions (wet roads, roads underwater, slick roads).”

Tires that need replaced don’t provide proper traction on the road and can cause hydroplaning. Plus, you have a bigger chance of a flat tire and a greatly increased stopping distance.

How can I avoid hydroplaning car accidents?

The first thing you can do to avoid hydroplaning is to be aware of your surroundings and travel with caution during any type of weather event.

It doesn’t matter if it’s snow or rain, you have to be careful when traveling in conditions that are outside the norm.

Hydroplaning car accidents can also be avoided by making sure that you are keeping track of your tire tread.

Check your tire treads at least once a month along with your tire pressure. To check the tread, place a penny in the tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head facing downwards. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, you need new tires!

What to do if you are hydroplaning

Don’t hit the brakes!

You’ll lose traction.

As with snowy roads, instead, let your foot off the gas pedal slowly and turn your steering wheel in the direction your car is going.

Who is at fault in a hydroplaning car accident?

If you were not paying attention to weather conditions, speeding, and looking at your phone before you hydroplaned, you will probably be found at fault in this type of accident.

However, while most of the time the fault will be on the driver of the car, there are situations where the driver may not be liable.

If you hit another car when your car hydroplaned but the other driver did not have their lights on and was driving erratically, you might have a case that they were at fault in that accident.

If your vehicle or your tires had manufacturing defects which caused it to hydroplane, that could be another way that you may not be found at fault in a hydroplaning car accident.

Sound complicated? It can be!

New Quad Cities I-74 Bridge Drainage and Standing Water Problems

On March 23, 2021 and again on April 11 and 12, 2021, drivers on the new Quad Cities I-74 Bridge unexpectedly hydroplaned due to clogged drains on the shoulder and standing water from heavy weekend rains, respectively.

While drivers are using the Iowa-bound bridge for both directions of traffic, they are having to drive on the shoulder where the water accumulated. In the more recent incident, it’s unclear whether the standing water was due to drainage issues or due to heavy weekend rain.

As of April 12, 2021, there are several signs up on and before the Illinois-bound side of the new I-74 bridge warning drivers to slow down because there is standing water on the bridge.

According to the Moline Police Department, at least seven drivers were in an accident due to the standing water as of April 11, 2021.

Were you injured in an accident on the new I-74 bridge? Contact us for a free consultation.

Contact VanDerGinst Law to Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

We know that it can be confusing and frustrating dealing with the insurance company when all you want to do is recover from your injuries and get your car fixed.

That’s why it’s important to speak to a personal injury lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process with ease.

We’d be honored to help with your hydroplaning car accident case. Contact us at 800-797-5391 or vlaw.com/contact for more information or a free consultation with our team.

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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.

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