Ri$k Happens: Hydroplane pain

Nov. 22, 2020 - By Angela Cady, AIC - Loss Analyst, ARA Insurance

Francine was on her way back to the rental store in a company truck after running some errands for her employer. She was still several miles away from her exit on the freeway when a heavy downpour started. Francine slowed her speed, made sure her lights were on and engaged her wipers at full power.

A few miles down the road, Francine passed through a tunnel. Unknown to her, a large amount of water had pooled in the roadway at the exit of the tunnel. Francine’s vehicle exited the tunnel, hit the standing water and hydroplaned. The vehicle careened into the median and came to a stop. In the blink of an eye, another car came out of the tunnel behind her and struck the portion of her vehicle that was sticking out into the lane, causing further damage.

The other driver pulled over to a safe spot and came to check on Francine. She was not seriously injured. They called the police to help block off the lane and alert other drivers, then filed a police report. Francine had her vehicle towed to safety as quickly as possible. The rental store turned in a claim to its own insurance. The investigation is ongoing.

Some monster puddles seem to defy the best preparations, however there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of hydroplaning. Before you even get on the road, ensure your tires are properly inflated and your tread is in good condition. When the road is wet, slow down and avoid using the cruise control. Avoid puddles and outer lanes where water tends to accumulate as much as possible. Also seek to avoid hard braking and quick turns.

Sources: defensivedriving.com and safemotorist.com

This item, provided by ARA Insurance, Kansas City, Mo., contains real-life insurance claims involving rental stores and is intended to help readers better understand and manage risk. For more safety and risk management information, customers of ARA Insurance can log on to ReSource. Access is free, so if you haven’t signed up yet, contact your agent or call 800-821-6580.

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