Hydroplaning Lands Drivers in Trouble Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By Osborne & Francis
July 18, 2024

Worn tires, speed and water on the roads can result in lost traction, accidents that cause serious injuries & deaths says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Hydroplaning happens when a layer of water gets between your tire and the road. Because the tire has no traction there can be a loss of control of the car, resulting in an accident and serious injuries. When the roads are wet drivers need to slow down or risk a life changing car crash warns Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It often rains in Florida and it’s not uncommon for roads to be covered in water. Last year the state got 53.83 inches of rain, according to Florida State University’s Florida Climate Center, while the nation, as a whole, on average, got a little more than half that amount, 31.7 inches. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report that there were 138 fatal accidents during rainy conditions in the state in 2015 and 14,290 accidents resulting in injuries during wet weather.

Your tires help maintain control of your vehicle because there is friction between the tire and the roadway. Because of that friction you can brake to a stop and steer the car. If there is a layer of water (along with oil and other substances on the road) between the two, there is little or no friction so your vehicle may be unable to stop or steer. Other than the water on the road, there are two main causes for hydroplaning, travelling too fast for the conditions and tires whose treads aren’t deep enough.

You would expect “bald” tires to lose their grip in wet conditions, but Consumer Reports found that tires that have only gone through half of their expected lifetime can lose “a significant amount of grip” in wet conditions, potentially causing an accident. There are many vehicles out there that could find themselves slip sliding away in the rain, according to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They found that of 11,500 cars, pickup trucks vans, and sport-utility vehicles the agency checked about half had at least one tire with half-worn tread. Another 10% had at least one “bald” tire.

Worn and “bald” tires can be deadly on wet roads because the grooves of the tread, pushed down by the weight of the vehicle, pump water away from the road surface so the tires maintain contact with the pavement. When the grooves aren't deep enough the result is hydroplaning, where the tread skims the water's surface.

As your speed increases, the higher the chance of hydroplaning, since there’s not enough time for water to escape through the tread grooves. Shallower tread makes the situation worse because they allow more water to stay beneath the tire.

To reduce the risk of an accident on wet roads,

  • You should slow down when the roads are wet. Depending on the conditions that may mean travelling below the speed limit.
  • Worn tires should be replaced. You may try to save some money by using tires that still have a little bit of tread hanging on, but given how often Florida roads are wet you may end up spending far more money if you cause an accident.

If you or a family member have been injured in a vehicle accident in wet conditions in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties and have any questions about accident law, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. We can talk about the situation, how the law could apply in your case and the best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

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