Alabama Hydroplaning Accidents
According to the Alabama Traffic Crash Facts
, there were 14,548 auto accidents in 2010 that occurred when it was raining, including crashes in Birmingham. Another 2,013 accidents occurred when there was snow or sleet on the ground. These stats show that rain, snow and sleet can all create a dangerous situation for drivers and cause cars to go out of control. Water on the roadways also creates another serious risk for drivers – the risk of hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning, or aquaplaning, is a frightening experience. It occurs whenever the tires of a vehicle lose contact with the road’s surface. Hydroplaning can happen to any vehicle, including trucks, cars or motorcycles. It can result in a crash that causes injury or even death.
Often, bad weather isn’t the only contributing factor in a hydroplaning incident. Negligence can also play a role in causing a vehicle to hydroplane. When this occurs, it’s important to contact a lawyer for help in protecting your rights to compensation.
When the tire of a vehicle makes contact with too much water, the tire can’t push through or scatter the water. The water pressure that the car encounters as it goes over the excess water results in the water pushing its way underneath the tire. This means the car is essentially driving on a very thin layer of water instead of on the road.
When a car hydroplanes, therefore, the car tire is separated from the road surface. Traction is lost. The driver no longer has the ability to steer, brake or control the car.
How Does Hydroplaning Happen?
While hydroplaning happens any time the car comes into contact with too much water, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of hydroplaning.
- Pooling water on the surfaces of the roads – When roads wear unevenly, as they often do, ruts and ridges can develop on the surface of the road. Water is likely to pool or collect in these ridges. This can include not only water from rain or melting snow but also water from nearby sprinklers or from overflowing drains. When drivers encounter this pooled water, hydroplaning can happen. This is especially dangerous when the pooled water is from a sprinkler or any cause other than bad weather, since the driver won’t be expecting the wet spot.
- Bad road design – Roads are placed where people need to commute. However, those who design roads should try to take into account the drainage patterns in the surrounding area. If a road is located in a place where excess flooding is likely (due to weather or other factors), this can increase the risk of overly slick roads and can increase the risk of hydroplaning.
- Drainage issues – If drains are blocked or poorly designed, then water may not drain properly in a rainstorm or when there is a lot of precipitation. This increases the chance of puddles and of hydroplaning.
- Excess driver speed – When a driver is going too quickly, he or she is more likely to hydroplane and lose control. Drivers not only must drive at a speed below the posted limit but must also drive at a speed that is safe for the current weather outside.
- Improper tire pressure – Typically, rubber tires have grooves or tread designed to channel water and disperse it so it doesn’t build up beneath the tires. These tires with wide grooves have more friction and can help curb hydroplaning. However, tires need to be properly inflated in order to be able to successfully avoid leaving the surface of the road through hydroplaning.
A car that is skidding because of hydroplaning is likely to go out of control. The vehicle can crash into other cars around or could slide off the road into an embankment or other obstacle. Rear-end collisions are especially common with hydroplaning crashes but these types of incidents could also involve single-vehicle crashes or crashes with vehicles in other lanes. Because the car spins out of control and all traction is lost in hydroplaning, almost any type of crash could occur.
The consequences of any hydroplaning crash are often serious, since drivers don’t have enough control over the car to slow down the impact or avoid a direct crash. The victims of such accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
A Hydroplaning Accident Lawyer Can Help with a Hydroplane Liability
If someone else was responsible for your hydroplaning accident, you may be able to take legal action. For example, if the government designed a road badly or had a duty to maintain the road, then you could potentially sue the government agency responsible for the design or maintenance. If a professional was hired to check your tire pressure and to inflate your tires to the right level and failed to do so, then they may be considered negligent and legally responsible. If you were sharing the road with a car that hydroplaned because the car was speeding, then the driver of that car would be responsible to you if his speeding caused your crash.
Contact our Alabama hydroplaning accident attorney for legal help.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by hydroplaning, then it is time to take action. You have a limited period in which to make a claim against the person who hurt you, and you should have a lawyer helping you today to start building a case.
The Alabama car accident
lawyers of the Belt & Bruner, P.C., have handled many cases involving hydroplaning in Birmingham and in surrounding areas. To learn more about how we can put our legal background and knowledge to work for you, give us a call or contact us online