Bad Weather Still Causing Accidents on I-40 Due to Design Flaw
A Mt. Juliet city engineer says that a stretch of Interstate 40 East near Belinda Parkway has been the scene of nearly 40 accidents since January.
WKRN.com reports that the Tennessee Department of Transportation determined in July that the road was dangerous due to a flaw in a recent widening project that took place in order to alleviate traffic problems. Since TDOT’s initial investigation, there have been five hydroplaning accidents, including one that occurred Saturday evening.
Until the road is permanently fixed, TDOT will continue to temporarily shut down the affected lane in order to keep drivers away from the area where they are likely to hydroplane when the road becomes slick after recent rainfall.
A TDOT spokesperson said that the organization will continue to monitor the weather and close the lane before, during, and immediately after rainstorms and inclement weather. There are also plans in place to add more drains and adjust the slope of I-40 at mile marker 226 to reduce the amount of standing water.
Construction on the repairs is expected to begin soon and the project is estimated to be completed by the end of November.
What Should You Do if Your Vehicle Begins to Hydroplane?
Hydroplaning is a phenomenon that occurs when a vehicle’s tires lose traction due to a layer of water building up between the surface of the road and the rubber of the tires. When a vehicle begins to hydroplane, drivers may lose some or all control of their vehicles, making them much more likely to be involved in accidents—especially if they panic or overcorrect by steering hard or slamming on their brakes.
To regain control of your vehicle if you begin to hydroplane, do your best to follow these tips:
- Don’t slam on your brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator.
For many people, losing control activates an instinct to slam on the brakes and slow down as quickly as possible. However, slamming on your brakes will only cause you to lose even more control of your vehicle and putting you in danger of striking other vehicles or nearby objects. Instead, immediately take your foot off the gas and allow your vehicle to begin slowing down on its own.
- Keep your car pointed straight ahead.
As you begin hydroplaning, you may feel your vehicle turning slightly to the left or right. Resist the urge to steer hard in either direction to straighten your direction. Instead, hold the steering wheel tight and steer just hard enough to maintain your forward movement while allowing the vehicle to slow down.
- Lightly press the brakes once you begin to regain control of your vehicle.
If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, it’s safe to lightly press the brake pedal once you begin to regain some control over your vehicle after you have straightened your direction and reduced your speed by coasting.
- Turn cruise control off immediately.
Cruise control features aren’t designed to detect inclement weather or loss of traction. In fact, your vehicle may even speed up to compensate for lost momentum if it begins to hydroplane. Using cruise control during rainy weather can be dangerous, and it’s vital to turn it off immediately if you begin to lose control of your vehicle.
Hydroplaning can be a scary experience for drivers, as even a momentary sensation of losing control while behind the wheel can be enough to cause panic. However, it’s important to remember that hydroplaning is often temporary and rarely lasts for more than a couple of seconds. Staying calm and focusing on reducing your speed and maintaining your vehicle’s direction can be vital steps to preventing a serious accident if your vehicle’s tires suddenly lose traction due to inclement weather.
Regardless of the weather or road conditions, if you or someone you love was injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. The Mt. Juliet car accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law want to help you get the money you deserve. To find out how we can help, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.