Can a Trucking Company be Liable for a Hydroplane Accident?

September 8, 2020

Even the most skilled and experienced truck driver can have difficulty on the road, especially in inclement weather. Wet road conditions, even conditions from slight downpours, can cause serious hazards for drivers.

Hydroplaning, the situation when a vehicle slides uncontrollably on a wet surface, can be particularly dangerous for truck drivers. When an 18-wheeler hydroplanes, the aftermath could be disastrous to every driver in the vicinity.

What Causes Hydroplaning?

When water lands on any surface, that surface will feel slippery and will cause a loss of traction or friction. When water lands on a road, especially on a dry road, that water mixes with pre-existing dirt and oils, which creates a film. This watery, oily mixture, even in minimal form, can cause a vehicle’s tire to lose the necessary traction it needs to give the driver control. When combined with the weight and speed of a truck, it can lead to a dangerous truck accident.

Hydroplaning can happen any time the road is wet, but it is particularly dangerous when water first makes contacts with dry roads. Before the rain, the oils on the road have built up, and the rain has not had enough time to wash it away.

Also, it is important to remember that other vehicles close by are also driving in the same dangerous road conditions. Other drivers may not have enough traction or reaction time to perform any emergency maneuvers.

Who Might be Liable in a Hydroplane Accident?

There are a few main factors that cause hydroplaning, such the condition of the tires, including tread depth, the speed at which the vehicle is travelling, and the depth of water on the road. Due to these factors, a truck driver or the trucking company could be held liable for a hydroplane truck accident. Truck drivers must always maintain control of their vehicles, including in inclement conditions.

Of course, there could be instances where the driver would not be held liable for hydroplaning, such as defective tires. In this scenario, a tire manufacturer could be held liable if the tires they have installed on vehicles do not meet safety standards.

Municipalities could also be held liable if local construction or lack of highway maintenance caused water or other liquids to flow onto roads, leading to dangerous conditions. Improper drainage systems could also be looked at, especially if they do not comply with highway safety regulations.

To determine liability, contacting an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer is highly recommended. A lawyer can review the case and determine who is negligible for the accident.

Hydroplaning Prevention and Safety Tips

With any vehicle, the condition of the tires and tread depth are essential for safe travelling. Consider that a vehicle’s tires are the only thing contacting the road, which should highlight their importance to even the most inexperienced driver.

Tires should always be checked on a regular basis, especially for truck drivers who spend most of their days behind the wheel. Wear patterns, tire pressure, and tread depth are all essential to safety. Here are more important tips to prevent hydroplaning:

Tire condition is important. If a tire’s tread depth is too low or the tire is worn or balding, it is not able to displace the water between the tire and the road surface, which will then result in hydroplaning. This can also be said for tire pressure. If a tire’s air pressure it not at the correct measurement, the tread pattern on the tire will not work the way it should. The tread pattern on a tire is designed specifically to displace water.

Drivers should always maintain safe driving distances between themselves and others. If the roadways are wet, drivers should slow down to allow themselves enough time to react and brake if necessary. Turning on the hazard lights may be necessary as well. Slowing down significantly helps control the vehicle better. If the visibility is not good, the flashing lights will alert other drivers.

A truck driver must consider the weight of the truck. An empty trailer means less weight, which could cause the rear to travel uncontrollably at high speeds. The tires and braking systems on a tractor trailer are designed to handle heavier loads, so when a trailer is empty, handling may be more difficult in bad weather.

Truck drivers should avoid sudden stops or maneuvers. This will also help other cars nearby, as all drivers should be maintaining enough distance in case of emergencies. Drivers should also avoid making sharp turns, turn off the cruise control if applicable, and remain alert with both hands on the wheel.

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Hydroplane Accident?

If a truck driver acted negligently and caused the truck to hydroplane, the driver or the trucking company may be liable for an accident. In order to obtain compensation, it is important for a victim to contact a lawyer. A lawyer will review the case and protect the rights of the victim.

Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Those Injured in Hydroplane-Related Truck Accidents

If you were hurt in a hydroplane accident caused by a negligent truck driver, then contact one of our Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law right away. Our knowledgeable lawyers help truck accident victims get the compensation that they need and deserve. Call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.