A car accident involving a single vehicle left the driver with serious personal injuries after dangerous road conditions caused her to lose control of her car and careen off the road and into a roadside ditch, where the vehicle caught fire.
Car Accident Causes Serious Injuries North of St. Joseph
The fiery crash happened just three miles to the west of Burlington Junction, Missouri, and sixty miles north of St. Joseph.
Courtney Bybee, a 21-year-old from Nebraska, was driving westbound on U.S. Highway 136 in her 2004 Hyundai Tiberon. According to police reports, Bybee lost control of her car early in the morning of Tuesday, November 22, 2016. The road conditions were bad, and Bybee’s vehicle hydroplaned on the wet pavement. Unable to steer because of the hydroplaning, Bybee’s car crossed the centerline and went off the south side of the road. There, the car went into a ditch, flipped, and caught fire.
Several surrounding towns sent emergency response personnel to the scene of the car accident. Bybee, who was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, was brought to a hospital in Fairfax for treatment. Reports indicate that the injuries that she suffered were serious.
The Dangers of Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning happens when the grooves in your car’s tires are unable to channel water from the front of the tire to behind it. Instead, water gets stuck underneath the tire, preventing the tire from touching the road. Without the friction of the tire’s rubber on the pavement, you can easily lose the ability to steer or brake your car.
It takes very little water on the road to cause a car to hydroplane. In fact, the first ten minutes of a light rain are likely the worst for hydroplaning. During this time, the rain mixes with a road’s oil residue, making it more difficult for your tires to work effectively.
What to Do If You Start Hydroplaning
If you find yourself hydroplaning and unable to control your car, take the following steps:
- Immediately take your foot off the gas. Slowing your speed is the best way to get out of a hydroplaning situation. However, hitting the brakes can put your car into a dangerous skid. Not using the pedals at all and waiting for your car to slow down is the best reaction.
- Turn the steering wheel in the direction the hydroplane is taking you. While this doesn’t help get out of the hydroplane, it does realign your tires so that you don’t lose control once your tires hit the road, again.
- Wait to feel your tires back on the road. There will often be a lurch when your car’s tires touch the pavement, again. Once this happens, you can resume driving, or pull over to recover.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
This single-vehicle car accident just north of St. Joseph could easily have involved another car, as well. The victim’s hydroplaning took her across the oncoming lane of traffic. Luckily for everyone, no one was coming.
Serious car accidents like this one happen all the time. When you’re involved in one, you deserve to be compensated for the injuries that you’ve suffered. Contact the car accident attorneys at the Smith Law Office online or at (816) 875-9373 for the legal representation you need.