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Hydroplaning: what to do when it happens

During the rainy season in Pennsylvania, drivers will want to be more cautious. The first 10 minutes of rainfall are especially dangerous because that is when the water combines with the oily residue on the road to form a slippery surface. Even after the water washes away most of that residue, drivers are at a high risk for hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning happens when cars slide or skid uncontrollably over the thin layer of water that separates their tires from the road. This layer is created when the pressure in the front of the tire pushes the rainwater underneath. The thicker it becomes, the more the tires lose traction. Most of the time, drivers can avoid hydroplaning by slowing down in rainy weather and avoiding large puddles.

Sometimes, though, it is unavoidable. Drivers who find themselves hydroplaning should remember first of all to never apply the brakes. Applying the brakes will only cause the car to skid. Instead, they should turn in the same direction that the rear is heading. Oversteering will cause the car to spin in a full circle.

After that, drivers can do nothing but wait for the car to realign itself with the road. They can regain control of the vehicle after that. If necessary, they can pull over to assess damage and get a breather.

Negligent drivers are at a greater risk for hydroplaning, and they may even be held liable if hydroplaning causes them to get in a car accident. Victims may want to obtain a copy of the police report and see a lawyer about their case. Pennsylvania operates under the rule of comparative negligence, so victims will have their damages reduced based on how much they contributed to the accident. With a lawyer, they may work for the maximum possible settlement and litigate if the claim is denied.

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John A. Caputo & Associates, P.C.
310 Grant St. Suite 820
Grant Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-246-9235
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