Avoid hydroplaning in heavy rain

A car travels through standing water Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on Rahn Road in Washington Twp., Montgomery County. (Jordyn Huffman/Staff)
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A car travels through standing water Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, on Rahn Road in Washington Twp., Montgomery County. (Jordyn Huffman/Staff)

Speed limit sometimes too fast for conditions

All that rainfall that hit the region is behind several crashes overnight and today.

Some drivers find themselves in trouble, even when they’re following all the road rules. A major road hazard is hydroplaning — when water builds between the tires and roadway, causing a vehicle to lose traction.

In Darke County, a driver on Ohio 502 hydroplaned, lost control and wrapped his sport-utility vehicle around a utility pole on Saturday night. Another crash on Interstate 75 today at Wagner Ford Road was blamed on hydroplaning. And in Indiana, a trooper passing a semi during heavy rains was sideswiped by a semi this morning in Pendleton County.

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“If you’re driving the normal speed limit or trying to go a little faster on a back road, major highway, there can be a puddle of water and if you hit that at a high rate of speed you’re going to lose control,” said Sgt. Paul Lezotte of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Xenia Post.

Even motorists sticking at the posted speed limit can be driving too fast in heavy rain.

“I know we had a couple (Saturday) that slid off … and again, they’re either passing or hanging lanes where the water tends to set in the grooves where your tires go,” Lezotte said.

The OSP’s Xenia Post routinely responds to weather-related crashes on Interstate 675 and U.S. 35 near Trebein Road. This weekend, which saw between 2 and 3 inches of rain today in parts of the region, was no exception.

Tips to help prevent crashes include obeying the headlight/wiper law: Ohio mandates that headlights be on when windshield wipers are in use, regardless of the time of day. Also, Lezotte said, “people just need to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention, put their phones down and focus on driving.”

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