News & Resources

August 26, 2015. Category: Car Accidents

Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Warns: Water is as Dangerous as Ice on Florida Roadways

Drivers throughout most of Florida are fortunate; they seldom need to deal with freezing conditions on local roadways. Still, water does not need to be frozen to be dangerous.

In addition to dangerous encounters with potholes hidden by water, just a thin layer of water can cause cars to hydroplane, creating ice-like conditions. Local drivers need to know how to help avoid these incidents and the special legal issues connected with hydroplaning accidents.

How Does Hydroplaning Occur?

Any time a vehicle encounters a wet road surface, it can potentially slip or slide out of control. According to the American Safety Council, hydroplaning occurs when water pressure in front of a wheel forces water under the tire. That water separates the tire from the road surface causing a loss of traction, particularly at higher speeds.

While tire treads are designed to help prevent or reduce the likelihood of hydroplaning, they provide no guarantees, particularly if the tires are worn or damaged.

Any rain storm can increase the risk, but the first 10 minutes of even a light rain can mix with oils on the road to make the surface more slippery. If significant showers have occurred in recent hours, some of those oils may have already washed away, but drivers should always err on the side of caution during any rain event.

Knowledgeable Drivers Can Reduce the Likelihood of Hydroplaning

The first defense against hydroplaning is good tire maintenance. Tires do their jobs most effectively when they are properly inflated and when drivers rotate and replace them as soon as required. Naturally, it is best to avoid driving in high-water areas, while following some additional common-sense preventive measures:

Slow down: Hydroplaning is less likely to occur when driving at lower speeds. Slower-speed turns also help drivers retain control over their vehicles.

Increase stopping distance: Make sure the vehicle has extra space to stop. Hard braking is a virtual guarantee of skidding on wet roads.

Use tire tracks for safety: Cars that follow in the tire tracks of other vehicles reduce water under their tires.

Use car features effectively: Retain more control by turning off cruise control. Driving in a lower gear, on the other hand, increases traction.

Understand the Complexities of Hydroplaning Accidents

Of course, drivers who follow all safety measures still cannot control the practices of other vehicles on the road. Just this month, three St. Petersburg women were killed when a hydroplaning pickup swerved into their lane. The truck's driver was also killed, leaving a six-year old passenger in her truck as the only survivor.

Clearly, no monetary payment can possibly compensate the families of the victims in this tragedy, but it can help with expenses and future support. Still, pursuing damages from a driver who is also deceased adds complexities to these types of cases.

Just as important, however, attorneys need to identify the underlying causes of the accident. While it may have been a simple case of the pickup driver's inattention, dangerous road conditions may have played an integral role. Perhaps recent road repairs left the road susceptible to water accumulation or the municipality might have failed to make known needed repairs.

The motor vehicle accident attorneys at Alley, Clark & Griewe are sensitive to possible underlying issues pertaining to car accidents and have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations. For any accident, it costs nothing to call a Tampa car accident lawyer at 813-222-0977 or use our online contact form to learn about all available legal options.

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