Illinois drivers may know what hydroplaning is, but they may not have given it much thought. While slowing down and avoiding large puddles can usually prevent hydroplaning, there are other times when it’s unavoidable. Drivers should especially be cautious during the first 10 minutes of rainfall when water and the oily residue on the road mix together to form a slippery surface. Afterwards, most but not all of the residue will be washed away.

Hydroplaning occurs when the tires, encountering more water on the road than they can handle, push the water underneath them and create a thin layer of water between them and the road. The tires thus lose traction and may cause the car to slide or skid uncontrollably. Hydroplaning can result in serious crashes.

When it happens, drivers should keep these tips in mind. Applying the brakes will only cause the car to lose more control, so drivers must remember not to. Rather than turning away from the direction that the rear of their car is heading toward, they should turn into the slide without oversteering so that the car realigns itself with the road. Once they gain control, they can pull over and assess whatever damage was done to their car.

If drivers cause a hydroplaning incident through their own negligence, such as by speeding or riding on tires with shallow tread depth, they may be held responsible for any car accident injuries that arise. Victims might want to consult with a lawyer about filing a claim because in Illinois, only those who are less than 50 percent to blame for an accident are eligible for damages. A lawyer may be able to negotiate for a fair settlement with the auto insurance company once the grounds for a claim have been established, litigating as a last resort.