Car Hydroplanes, Smashes into Utility Pole and Sends 1 to Hospital in Central New York
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office said a man was hospitalized following a single car collision Monday night.
According to Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, 21-year-old Christian Whisler of Clinton lost control of his car as he was driving eastbound on Route 5 in Westmorland.
His 2003 Ford sedan reportedly began hydroplaning and swerved into the opposing lane.
Police say Whisler was unable to regain control of his vehicle and it struck a utility pole.
While Whisler was said to be unharmed, his passenger reportedly needed medical attention. Authorities said they transported 22-year-old Robert B. Belvin to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police say they issued Whisler several traffic tickets that will be due to the Town of Westmoreland Court. It is unknown what citations Whisler received.
It is also unknown what caused Whisler's car to hydroplane nor the damage sustained to his vehicle.
How to avoid hydroplaning
Hydroplaning happens when a vehicle slides uncontrollably on a wet road. It happens during rainy or wet conditions, when enough water builds up between a car's wheels and the road's surface to alter traction.
The buildup of water can cause tires to lose their grip on the road and travel on the water covering the top of it, instead. In situations like that, a driver will have a reduced ability to steer and brake.
If you don't want that to happen to you during your next road trip in the rain, there's a few easy steps you can follow to prevent an accident.
The most efficient rule is to slow your speeds when the roads are wet, as hydroplaning can happen when traveling in excess of 35 miles per hour. The faster your wheels rotate, the less water will scatter on the road.
It's also advisable to be extra cautious when driving during the first 10 minutes of new rainfall, as the water will mix with the oils and other residue that soaked into the road's surface. That creates extra slick conditions and increases the odds of hydroplaning.
Going off that, it's encouraged to avoid street areas or lanes that have water accumulating on them. If you can't avoid these areas, try driving on the same path as the car ahead of you.
When it comes to operating your car, you should avoid sharp, quick turns as well as hard braking or sudden acceleration. Your tires will have reduced ability to grip the ground.
On that note, it's best to leave as much room between you and the car ahead of you. If they should hard brake, you should give yourself ample time to gently bring your car to a stop.
In the instance you feel your car is starting to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal and let your car slow.
For more tips on how to stay safe in slick conditions, visit AAA's guide.
What happens if you do hydroplane in NY?
Unfortunately, hydroplaning isn't considered an act of god since it's widely regarded that it's the result of unsafe driving.
In New York, you can be issued several tickets; including speeding and reckless driving. Even if you theoretically hydroplane while you were going under the speed limit, an officer can deem that you were driving too fast for the conditions that were impacting the road.
You can even be cited for improper passing or changing lane unsafely as well as driving left of center, in wrong direction if your car leaves its lane.
A hydroplaning accident could tack several points onto your license. Cars speeding up to 10 miles over the speed limit face 3 points on their license while reckless driving will earn you 5.
For the latter two, each carry a 3 point violation on your license.
This also can lead to additional fines and fees -- or even jail time.
That said, when it's raining cats and dogs outside, it's probably best to drive like a cautious grandma with her favorite grandchild in the backseat.