Drivers always need to exercise a higher degree of caution when driving during inclement weather, and this is especially true for truck drivers. Tractor trailers are some of the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, so truck drivers are held to a higher degree of reasonable care than other drivers. It’s imperative for truck drivers to operate their vehicles safely while remaining vigilant for any hazards.
Hydroplaning is a scary experience for any driver who has done it before. Hydroplaning or “skimming” describes when water on the road prevents a vehicle’s tires from gripping the road surface. The vehicle then essentially begins sliding across the water’s surface, an extremely dangerous situation for any driver. Hydroplaning is more common in lighter cars that are more likely to lift away from the road at higher speeds, but the reality is that even large vehicles like tractor trailers can hydroplane in the right circumstances.
Many hydroplaning accidents involve only one car, and in most single-car crashes the liability falls on the driver. There are some exceptions, but it is very difficult for most drivers in single-car crashes to escape liability. Arguing that road conditions were poor typically doesn’t carry much weight in court. If road conditions indeed caused your accident, and you know you were not driving unsafely, try to take pictures of the accident scene after the crash, if possible.
Faulty road design or maintenance may also contribute to a hydroplaning crash. If you believe there was a problem with the road surface and this problem caused your accident, you may be able to prove that liability for your damages lies with the organization responsible for maintaining that section of road. If accidents seem to regularly happen in a particular area, the trend may indicate that there is some design flaw in the roads in that area. Improper drainage and overflow control around highways is a serious hazard, so if a municipality or other government agency was responsible for fixing these issues, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
When a vehicle hydroplanes, it’s important for the driver to respond safely. Panicking, slamming on the brakes, attempting to swerve, or trying to stop too quickly can easily make a bad situation even worse. A hydroplaning vehicle can careen off the road and into other vehicles, pedestrians, or buildings or other structures near the road. The best thing a driver can do when hydroplaning is to remove his or her foot from the gas pedal and allow the car to slow down enough so the tires can make contact with the road surface again. Attempting to steer while hydroplaning will cause the vehicle to spin out and the driver to completely lose control.
If a driver who suffers injuries from a hydroplaning accident can successfully prove that he or she did not act negligently, he or she may be able to argue that worn tires or an unsafe road condition caused the hydroplaning accident. This can be difficult to prove, but it’s important for injured drivers to hire reliable, experienced attorneys who can fully investigate their legal options.
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we believe in protecting injured drivers’ rights, even in cases that may be difficult to win. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or losses due to a hydroplaning tractor trailer or other vehicle, contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation. One of our attorneys will meet with you to assess your situation and let you know what you can expect from a lawsuit.