Even states as dry as Arizona can face extreme rain. Monsoon season is upon us, meaning weather conditions can change quickly including heavy rain, high winds, dark skies, and flash floods. Many Tucsonans and Arizonanans expect sudden, heavy downpours from June-September, often creating dangerous roadways that can make driving treacherous.
Even worse than impairing a driver's focus and vision, sudden torrential rains and subsequent winds cause roadways to become slick, flooded, or damaged. When these sudden rains dump inches of rain in a matter of minutes, serious crashes can result from hydroplaning during a monsoon such as:
- Seat belt injuries
- Airbag injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Herniated disks
- Spinal Cord injuries
- Skull and spinal fractures
- Eye injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Burn injuries
For your health and safety, stay aware of changing weather patterns, and make your driving decisions accordingly. This quick blog provides necessary information on hydroplaning and who is at fault for car accidents due to hydroplaning.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning causes even the most experienced drivers to momentarily lose control of their vehicles. During inclement weather such as severe monsoons, a layer of water comes between a vehicle's tires and the road, causing the car to hydroplane. Severe injuries can occur at any speed, even as low as 25 miles per hour, when hydroplaning is involved.
How Do I Avoid Hydroplaning?
When a vehicle hydroplanes, the driver may feel a sudden jolt and be unable to control the vehicle. This may last for only a moment or can last for miles, depending on how much water is on the road, the weather conditions, the speed of the vehicle, and the condition of the car's tires.
Either way, hydroplaning is a scary and dangerous situation due to the lack of control over the vehicle's steering, speed, and safety. To avoid hydroplaning, stay vigilant while at the wheel and make sure you follow these driving safety guidelines:
- Avoid the storm all together if you can, It may sound obvious, but pulling off the road and simply waiting for the storm to pass by can save your life..
- Slow down on wet roadways, especially when driving through standing water.
- Pay attention to the condition of the roadways and stay aware of surrounding drivers.
- Do NOT use cruise control.
- Turn on your lights. Even if you can see perfectly fine, having your headlights on allows you to see better and ensures other drivers can see your car more easily.
- Check your tires. Make sure the tread is at least 2/32nd of an inch deep. Rotate and balance your tires around every 5,000 - 6,000 miles. And inflate them to your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles to allow for sudden stops and unexpected turns.
- Check the safety features of your car - wipers, lights, brakes, tires, etc..
- Follow the tracks of other vehicles safely and without tailgating them, as they have already dispersed some of the water collecting on the roadway.
- Know the rules of the road. Monsoons can cause power outages, traffic signals not working, road closures, low visibility for signage, and worse. If a light is down, treat it as a four-way stop, but also be wary as other drivers may be less experienced or not paying attention and it could be a dangerous situation.
- Be prepared. During the monsoon season you should expect the unexpected, which means that you need to make sure your phone is charged, and any supplies you may need are available (e.g. emergency kit, water, etc.).
What Do I Do If I Hydroplane?
Unfortunately, even for the most experienced drivers the risk of hydroplaning exists in rainy conditions and during monsoon season regardless of how carefully you drive. If you do happen to hydroplane, these simple tips can seriously help:
- Stay as calm as possible under pressure. You can pull over to compose yourself after the fact. When we panic, we overreact which will worsen the situation.
- Do not slam on the brakes. Take your foot off the gas and allow your vehicle to slow down and correct itself.
- Hold the steering wheel steady or slightly turn it in the direction the car is spinning. Turning your car against the direction it's spinning could cause further traction loss. Drivers are inclined to steer in the opposite direction while hydroplaning, but that only causes further issues. Turn the wheel in the direction you're sliding until you gain control of the car again. Then correct your steering in a calm fashion.
- Do not stop in the roadway after you gain control of the vehicle. Pull into a parking lot, off the road, or safely onto the shoulder of the road if you need some time to gain your composure or wait for the weather to pass. If you choose to pull over, keep in mind that other drivers are also dealing with hydroplaning.
Who Is at Fault for Hydroplaning?
Even though the roadways are hazardous during monsoon-type weather, the same rules apply for who is at fault as any other car accident. Though each case is different, most of the time, the driver who caused the car accident will be at fault because drivers should always be in control of their vehicles at all times.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident due to hydroplaning, you may be entitled to financial compensation which requires further legal assistance. As much as we want to, we can't undo the hydroplaning accident. However, we can ensure that you get the financial compensation, essential compassion, and tireless legal support that you need in order to focus on recovery.
Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian is a very successful, highly experienced, and deeply caring Tucson personal injury firm that specializes in all types of serious car accident cases and motor vehicle crash claims in Arizona including crashes due to hydroplaning.
If you've been injured in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, you need representation from the best Tucson personal injury lawyers. For a free consultation, call our team at (520) 790-5600 or CLICK HERE