Driving is all about having control over your automobile. Hence, it’s an activity that requires one to be in a proper state of mind and have maximum alertness. This is because any loss of control over a vehicle can result in unfortunate consequences. The loss of control can result from the driver’s negligence, a fault in the car, or even a weather condition. One of the weather conditions that can make a driver lose control over a vehicle is hydroplaning. It’s a condition that the driver must take note of and endeavor to drive safely to avoid collisions.
What Is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning refers to a condition where the wheels of a vehicle lose contact with the road surface it is traveling on. In this situation, the wheel is separated from the road by layers of water, which can result from rain or just a slightly damp road.
When hydroplaning occurs, the driver can lose total control of the vehicle as it begins to slide over the wet surface of the road. It can happen to just a wheel, and in a really worst situation, it can happen to all the wheels of a car, leaving the driver helpless and unable to control outputs.
It’s important to note that hydroplaning happens to a car regardless of its weight. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts the average weight of a vehicle to be 4,094 pounds, but that doesn’t stop it from hydroplaning.
This is as a result of the fact that water, under normal conditions, is incompressible. Hence, excessive speeding on a wet road will increase the ability of a tire to lose water faster, causing less traction between the road surface and the tire.
Typically, rubber tires are designed with grooves that help them channel water away from the wheels and maintain friction. Still, in some cases, conditions like poor groove designs and depth, poor inflation, and bad tire balancing can contribute to hydroplaning.
Poor road conditions can also cause hydroplaning.
Can A Third-Party Contribute To A Hydroplaning Accident?
Hydroplaning can happen to a driver, no matter how skilled. It can happen so fast that the inability of the driver to curtail it can lead to major accidents on the highway. This was the case in an unfortunate incident in Alabama in 2021, as it was reported that hydroplaning led to the crash of various vehicles leading to the death of 10 people.
Though, a hydroplaning crash is a weather condition-related incident, it can be caused as a result of the negligence of a third party.
Every road user is expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care while using the road during hydroplaning. Amongst other duties, a road user is expected to have their two hands on the steering wheel if there’s rainfall and desist from using cruise control. They are expected to reduce their speed and make sure they do everything possible to minimize the risk of hydroplaning.
However, not all do this, and there are cases where this has led to accidents and, subsequently, court cases where the injured party seeks to get compensation.
An example is the case of Herr v. Wheeler.
Here, the plaintiff sued the defendant claiming that her negligent conduct caused an accident. The defendant argued that she lost control of her vehicle when it hydroplaned on a wet road surface.
Also, there have been cases where a manufacturer and a road contractor have been charged to court for creating road conditions that increase hydroplaning risk.
An example is the case of Smith v. Rogers Group, Inc.
In this case, the plaintiff sued the defendant and some other parties on the grounds of negligence, causing several hydroplaning crashes. They claimed that the defendant negligently used a Type 3 asphalt during the highway construction even though they knew its use could increase the potential for hydroplaning accidents.
Using A Visual Aid In An Hydroplaning Crash Case
In a hydroplaning crash case, one of the best ways an attorney can prove negligence or explain their opinions and the facts of the case to the jury is via crash animation as a visual aid.
This is because a crash animation has the power to help illustrate the environment and circumstances surrounding the hydroplaning crash.
Like the case of Smith v. Rogers Group, Inc. above, crash animation can illustrate how Type 3 asphalt reacts and affects friction when it rains, causing hydroplaning. It can also demonstrate how overspeeding and improper groove design causes hydroplaning.
These and many more unique circumstances surrounding a hydroplaning crash case can be illustrated using animation.
All an attorney needs to do is reach out to a competent vehicular crash animation company to help illustrate the hydroplaning crash in a way that represents the facts and evidence of a case.