What if I Was Injured in a Maryland Hydroplaning Car Accident?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on June 26, 2024 and updated on July 8, 2024.

black car splashing water on roadDriving in bad weather increases the risk of a car crash significantly. When rain is involved, vehicles can hydroplane on the road’s wet surface, lose control and crash into other vehicles or objects. These accidents can cause serious injuries to vehicle occupants and pedestrians nearby.

Our team at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl explains why hydroplaning accidents occur, who may be held liable in a hydroplane accident and what to do to prevent yourself from being involved in one.

If you were involved in a hydroplane collision in Maryland and you were not at fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Maryland car accident lawyers have handled a variety of car accident cases. You can speak with an attorney at our firm to discuss your legal options at no cost to you.

Call our trusted lawyers today: 410-297-0271.

What Is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning occurs when water builds up between a vehicle’s tires and the road, causing the tires to lose traction and the vehicle to slide uncontrollably. As it hydroplanes, the vehicle skims on the surface of the water instead of gripping the road. When this happens, drivers may lose complete control of their vehicle. Holding onto the steering wheel or turning the wheel left or right and slamming on the brakes may likely be ineffective.

Why Does Hydroplaning Happen?

Several factors contribute to hydroplaning accidents, including:

  • Poor road design and maintenance: Roads with inadequate drainage systems or poorly designed surfaces can create conditions conducive to a hydroplane accident.
  • Lack of tire maintenance: Improperly inflated tires or tires with badly worn tread are more prone to hydroplaning.
  • Driver behavior: Speeding in wet conditions, distracted driving or failure to react appropriately to changing road conditions can increase the risk of hydroplaning accidents.

Driver Liability for Hydroplaning

In most cases, the driver who loses control of his or her vehicle due to hydroplaning is considered at fault for a resulting car crash. That is why many hydroplaning collisions are single-vehicle crashes.

In general, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and to adjust their driving behavior based on road and weather conditions. Neglecting this duty might include speeding, sudden lane changes, tailgating in rainy conditions or neglecting tire maintenance. If a driver fails to take reasonable precautions in wet conditions and causes an accident due to hydroplaning, he or she may be held liable. Maryland is an at-fault state, which means, the driver who is at fault for the accident is responsible for all damages incurred.

Who Else Could Potentially Be Held Liable?

Other parties that may also share liability include:

Other Drivers

If another driver hydroplanes because of his or her negligence and crashes into your vehicle or hits you while you are a pedestrian, he or she could be 100 percent at fault. You may be able to seek compensation from his or her insurance policy.

Vehicle Manufacturers

If you can prove that a tire manufacturer knowingly distributed defective tires that contributed to a hydroplaning accident, it could be held liable. However, if the manufacturer issued a recall, and you failed to bring your vehicle in to replace your tires, then you may still be held liable.


Cities or municipalities may be held responsible for hydroplaning accidents if they fail to maintain roads properly or provide adequate warnings for hazardous road conditions, such as debris or standing water.

How Drivers Can Prevent a Hydroplaning Crash

While hydroplaning can be unpredictable, there are steps drivers can take to reduce the risk:

Reduce Speed in Wet Conditions

When a driver is speeding, there is less time for the tires to disperse water underneath them. It is more difficult to stop or regain control of a speeding vehicle once it begins to hydroplane. This can lead to more serious accidents, and therefore, more serious injuries or property damage. Slowing down while driving in rainy weather will allow you to have better control and reaction time on the roads.

Proper Tire Maintenance

Be sure you regularly check your tire pressure and tread depth to ensure sufficient tire traction. Make sure to keep your tires properly inflated and replace old tires when the treads get too worn down.

Avoid Standing Water

When a vehicle drives through standing water, the water reduces the tire’s ability to maintain traction, leading to a loss of contact with the road. Standing water also reduces the friction between the tires and the road. Friction is necessary for tires to grip the road and maintain control of the vehicle. Steer clear of puddles and areas of standing water, particularly in outer lanes where water tends to accumulate.

Use Lower Gears

A lower gear increases the resistance from the engine, effectively slowing down the vehicle without relying solely on the brakes. This can help prevent skidding or sliding on slippery surfaces.

Lower gears provide better torque to the wheels, which will make them less likely to spin or lose traction when accelerating or decelerating. Lower gears make a vehicle more stable by reducing the risk of sudden or jerky movements that can occur at higher speeds.

If you are driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, driving in a lower gear can help you maintain control of your vehicle on slick surfaces.

Avoid Cruise Control

In wet conditions where traction is compromised, you need to have full control over the vehicle’s speed to navigate safely. Using cruise control in wet conditions can increase your risk of hydroplaning. Cruise control may prevent immediate reaction to changing road conditions and drivers may not be able to adjust their speed appropriately to prevent hydroplaning or regain control if it occurs.

When driving in wet, rainy conditions, take your vehicle off cruise control so you can maintain full control of your vehicle and can react to hazards quickly.

By following these preventative measures and staying vigilant in wet driving conditions, drivers can help mitigate the risk of hydroplaning accidents and keep themselves and others safe on the road.

Injured in a Hydroplane Car Accident? Call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl

If you were injured in a hydroplane car crash in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you can speak with an experienced member of our legal team to learn more about your legal options.

If your accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, our car accident lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation for medical care and other damages caused by your injuries. Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation with us.

We have always committed to working to ensure we build a strong case for our clients to obtain all the compensation they deserve.

Call 410-297-0271 today to schedule your free consultation.