Storms in Louisiana are often severe, and it is not unusual for an inch of rain to fall in less than an hour. When this happens, roads may not drain properly and the water that builds up can cause hydroplaning. This occurs when water accumulates in front of a tire’s leading edge and actually lifts it off the road surface. When all four wheels begin to hydroplane, maneuvering vehicles becomes virtually impossible.
Speed, rain and worn tires
Hydroplaning is caused by a combination of speed, water accumulating on road surfaces and tires that lack sufficient tread depth. When tires are worn, vehicles can hydroplane at speeds under 50 mph and in as little as a tenth of an inch of water. Heavy trucks and large SUVs are less prone to hydroplaning as they have more mass pushing down on the road and displacing water. If you want to avoid a hydroplaning-related car accident, you should check your tires regularly and reduce speed in heavy rain even if this annoys other road users. It is also a good idea to disengage your cruise control system in severe storms and give other cars plenty of room.
Road users injured in motor vehicle accidents usually seek compensation by filing lawsuits against negligent drivers, but government agencies are sometimes the defendants when crashes are caused by hydroplaning. Such a case was brought against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in 2007 by a man who suffered serious injuries in a hydroplaning accident on Highway 1 in Natchitoches Parish. The jury heard from local residents who said that they had complained about the highway flooding for years, and a DOTD supervisor admitted that crews had been sent to the area to drain water from the road surface at least 19 times between 1997 and 2005. The jury found the DOTD responsible for the accident and awarded the man damages.
Damages in car accident cases
The injuries suffered in hydroplaning accidents can be debilitating. When taking legal action on behalf of victims, experienced personal injury attorneys may consult with specialists before calculating damages to ensure that they seek an amount sufficient to cover the costs of long-term medical care and physiotherapy.