Hydroplaning in Wet Weather May Have Caused Accident that Killed Child in Virginia
In Virginia we have seen some extreme storms in recent weeks. When there are heavy downpours the dangers multiply on the roads. I was saddened to read about the recent death of a child in a crash involving a car and an ambulance on Saturday afternoon along Interstate 81 in Washington County, Virginia. The wet weather appears to have been a factor in this fatal accident.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller confirmed in news reports that a child died at the scene of the crash, which was reported before 1 p.m. at the 31.5 mile marker. The Houston Chronicle reported the child was from Houston in Texas.
Sgt. Daniel Price of Virginia State Police said a 2012 Toyota Corolla, was traveling north on Interstate 81 when it apparently hydroplaned on water. The car went off the left side of the road and crossed the median. It then hit an ambulance traveling in the opposite direction. Police said the ambulance’s driver was unable to avoid a collision.
Lt. Ricky Stumbo of the Glade Spring Volunteer Fire Department, pointed out the ambulance was not transporting anyone at the time of the crash. There were two occupants in the ambulance and one was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Emergency personnel extricated the occupants of the Toyota in an operation that lasted 90 minutes, according to Stumbo.
The female driver of the car was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries. A 16-year-old female front-seat passenger was flown to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, for treatment of serious injuries.
Two children who were in the backseat of the car were transported to Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia, for treatment. A third child died at the scene, Virginia State Police said. My thoughts are with the family at this tragic time.
Investigators used the latest equipment to reconstruct the crash scene. Skid marks on the pavement and tire tracks in the grassy median were documented. Price said hydroplaning was the likely cause of this terrible crash. It rained periodically in the region on Saturday.
This accident illustrates the dangers of driving in wet conditions when you are more likely to lose control of your car. The term hydroplaning refers to the skidding or sliding of tires across the wet surface of a road. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters too much water on the road. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, separating the tire from the surface of the road by a thin film of water. The consequences of hydroplaning can be very serious. A tire loses its traction and the car or truck can suffer a loss of braking, steering and power control.
Tires have tread that is intended to channel water that’s beneath the tire. The effect creates higher friction with the road surface and can help prevent or minimize instances of hydroplaning, but you should not just rely on your tires. When you are driving in wet and slippery weather it’s crucial to slow down and watch out for areas of standing water. Although we may think hydroplaning is more likely to happen after the kind of downpours we often see in the afternoons in July in Virginia, this is not always the case. According to an article in SafeMotorist.com, the “first 10 minutes of a light rain can be the most dangerous.”
If you have been injured when another driver loses control in wet weather or if you have lost a loved one, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.