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Hydroplaning in a truck: How to avoid it

Car AccidentsNews   June 27, 2017

Whether you’re in a car or a truck, hydroplaning is a terrifying experience because you are unable to control your vehicle for however long it occurs — and even a few seconds at high speeds can spell disaster on the roadways.

Hydroplaning can occur even in relatively small amounts of water — it just has to be more water than the truck’s tires can scatter when moving through it. If the tires don’t actually push all the water out of the way, then a film of water gets caught between the surface of the road and the tires themselves. The tire treads can’t catch a grip on the road, and suddenly you can neither steer nor brake your vehicle. According to studies, it only takes about one-tenth of an inch of water to start the whole thing in motion.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) says that wet pavement accounts for 75 percent of weather-related accidents. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the first few minutes of any rainfall are often the most dangerous for several reasons:

— Drivers don’t adjust their speed quickly enough. Especially if a driver has been driving for a while in a truck on a long haul, he or she may not immediately register the need to reduce the truck’s speed.

— The early rainwater mixes with the oil that’s on many roadways, creating a substance far slicker than water alone — which is why hydroplaning can occur when there’s barely any water coating the surface of a road.

— Drivers who have just emptied their load are at a bigger risk of hydroplaning because their vehicles lack the weight that they had while getting to their destination. Added weight helps tires push through water more easily without losing any traction.

— Truck tires that have worn treads, uneven wear on their treads, are under-inflated for the load that they are carrying, or over-inflated because they haven’t been adjusted since their load was emptied, are also more at risk of hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is often avoidable. If you’re the victim of a hydroplaning accident with a truck, it’s very possible that driver negligence was involved. Consider talking to an attorney as soon as possible — acting quickly may help the attorney preserve useful evidence (like photos of the tire treads on the truck involved) that could later help your case.

Source: Trucking SOS, “Accidents Caused by Hydroplaning,” accessed June 20, 2017