Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “If I am injured in a car accident or at work what should I do?”
Police officers in Gaston County, NC say that a recent deadly accident earlier this month that left a teenage driver dead highlights the dangers that can happen when driving on wet roads. Police say that the teen died on I-85 northbound when his 1991 Mercury hydroplaned while driving in front of a tractor-trailer.
Authorities say after the car hydroplaned, a little after 9 in the morning, it was hit by the tractor-trailer and pushed nearly 100 feet into the interstate median. At that point the tractor-trailer flipped onto its side, injuring the driver of the truck.
Police investigators say the Mercury was severely damaged which resulted in the death of the 18-year-old driver. The driver of the tractor-trailer was transported by ambulance to Caromont Regional Medical Center, but is expected to be fine. Police have said the driver of the semi will not face any criminal charges related to the accident given that it occurred because of the wet roads and subsequent hydroplaning.
Most everyone has heard the term “hydroplaning,” a word which refers to the sliding of a car’s tires across the wet surface of a roadway. This skidding happens when a tire comes into contact with more water than it is able to safely scatter. The water pressure in front of the tire then forces large amounts of water under the wheel which then causes the tire to separate from the surface of the pavement. This tiny layer of water between the tire and the road is enough to cause a dangerous loss of traction and results in loss of ability to steer or brake.
Given the loss of vehicle control, it’s understandable why hydroplaning can be so dangerous. The dangers of hydroplaning are most severe in the first 10 minutes after a light rain. This is the point when the water has mixed with the oil on the surface of the road which creates the most slippery conditions. Vehicles traveling faster than 35 miles per hour at the greatest risk of hydroplaning. Unfortunately, once the slip has begun there’s little a driver can do to stay in control of the direction of the vehicle.
Road safety experts say that drivers can take several actions to diminish their risk of being involved in such a skid. First, drivers should be sure their tires are inflated properly. Also make sure to check for worn tires and rotate them routinely. Slow down when driving on wet roads, as speed is frequently the major cause of hydroplaning collisions. The faster a person drivers the harder it becomes for your tires to scatter the water and maintain a grip on the surface of the road. Avoid standing water and try and keep away from outer lanes of roads where water often congregates. It’s also a good idea to drive in the tire tracks of the cars in front of you.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Teen driver killed after hydroplaning in front of tractor-trailer on I-85,” by Chris Dyches, published at WBTV.com.
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