Driving in heavy rains is dangerous; that much we all know.
However, more dangerous yet is the increased potential for car accidents. When visability is low and the roads are slick, crashes are bound to occur. In fact, rain causes more wrecks than snow and ice.
When it’s raining, water is normally pushed through a tire’s tread or brushed aside, meaning the tire maintains contact with the ground. However, sometimes water stays between the tire and the road so that the car “glides” on top of the water. This is hydroplaning. When hydroplaning happens, it’s very difficult to control your car – hence, increased wrecks.
Furthermore, when a car hydroplanes, it doesn’t stay on a forward trajectory. Instead, drag pulls on one side of the vehicle and the tires on the other side slow down, causing the vehicle to be pulled in the direction of the slower side. Essentially, a hydroplaning car will spin.
Who’s To Blame for a Hydroplaning Car Accident?
As always, that depends.
Since poor tire maintenance is a big cause of hydroplaning, the person responsible for the upkeep of the tires can be blamed in an accident. A car with worn tires is much more likely to hydroplane than a car with fresh tires and deep treads.
First, the driver can be at-fault. A driver has a responsibility to maintain their tires and replace them when they become worn or unsafe.
However, drivers aren’t the only ones who might be to blame for worn tires. In Texas, every car, truck and motorcycle is required to undergo an annual vehicle inspection. During this safety inspection, mechanics visually test a car’s tires and measure the tread to ensure they’re deep enough. However, if an inspector neglects to flag an unsafe tire, they could be held responsible for a hydroplaning accident.
Along those same lines, defective tires or poorly manufactured tires can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. If it’s discovered that the tires were defective (for instance, a new tire with a too-shallow tread), the manufacturer can be held responsible for an accident.
Hydroplane Accident Lawsuits: Poor Road Maintenance
We’ve talked a lot about tires, but bad tires aren’t all that cause hydroplane accidents. Many hydroplane accidents occur because the road was poorly designed or not maintained. Design flaws, road construction and poor gutter maintenance can all cause excess water to collect on roads, increasing the likelihood of hydroplaning.
In Texas, there are specific rules and safety regulations around construction zones and road design. If these criteria aren’t met and it results in a hydroplane accident, the city can be held responsible.