Recent Accident Involving a CHP Officer in San Jose
On Monday morning, it was raining steadily in San Jose. There’d been a crash along Interstate 280 near Saratoga Avenue. The drivers pulled to the side and waited for assistance, which came in the form of a California Highway Patrol officer. As with any accident, the officer had to leave his cruiser to investigate the crash. As the officer moved about, another car hydroplaned, losing control and almost hitting the officer. It missed, but it did strike the cruiser. Another person was struck by a driver who’d lost control in the same spot and was sent to the hospital in unknown condition.
Also called aquaplaning, it is a common occurrence where the tires of a vehicle encounter more water than it can push away. The tires lose grip on the road, separated by water (which is often mixed with oil). The driver loses the ability to brake, steer, and control the car.
Hydroplaning occurs in all kinds of rainy conditions, like the heavily-drenched state of Interstate 280, where there was standing water deep enough that cars were up to their bumper in water in some locations, to a light rain where there’s no standing water at all.
Who’s at fault in a hydroplaning car accident?
A driver can’t control rain or road conditions, so it may seem intuitive that they can’t be held at fault for an accident caused by hydroplaning. However, a variety of factors will be looked at to determine fault. There are ways you can help your case.
Whether or not the driver was speeding. Speeds in excess of 35 mph put a car at higher risk of hydroplaning. Staying within the speed limit is imperative.
Checking tires. Tires with too little tread or low air pressure can contribute to the chances of hydroplaning. It’s considered negligence, so be sure to rotate tires, keep their tire pressure up, and replace them when the tread begins to wear.
How the driver reacted to the hydroplane. When a car skids on water, it is important not to turn sharply or slam on the breaks. These things can send a vehicle further out of control and often lead to accidents. Gently counter-steer to keep the car steady and take your foot off the gas, or ease up on the brake pedal.
If you’ve been involved in a hydroplaning traffic accident, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer, like Tanya Gomerman. An experienced lawyer will help protect you as fault is being determined, as well as after. They’ll help navigate insurance and any potential courtroom time. Contact us today at 415-545-8608 for a free consultation.