POWNAL, Vt. (NEWS10) – A Bennington teen was hospitalized on Sunday after he hydroplaned and lost control on US Route 7 in Pownal. His car, police said, hit a tree after veering off the road, then rolled down a nearby embankment.

The crash was first reported at about 1:00 p.m. When first responders arrived at the scene, the car had already been totaled. The driver, a 17-year-old boy from Bennington, was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center with minor injuries.

Hydroplaning, sometimes called aquaplaning, refers to the skidding or sliding of a car’s tires across a wet surface. The phenomenon occurs when the tires encounter more water than the treads can displace, creating a thin film of water between the tire and the road. That film, and the resulting separation of the road and the tire, can easily make a driver lose control of their car and end up in a crash.

According to Safe Motorist, “Hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface, however, the first 10 minutes of a light rain can be the most dangerous.” On hot summer days, short bursts of rain can sometimes last less than a half-hour, posing an increased risk for hydroplaning.

How can you avoid hydroplaning?

  • Keep your tires inflated
  • Rotate and replace your tires when needed
  • Slow down when roads are wet
  • Stay away from puddles and standing water
  • Avoid driving in outer lanes where water tends to accumulate
  • Try to drive in the tire tracks left by cars in front of you
  • Turn off cruise control
  • Drive in a lower gear
  • Avoid hard braking
  • Try not to make sharp, quick turns

Pownal Fire and Rescue were on the scene of Sunday afternoon’s crash, along with the Vermont State Police. There has been no word on the well-being of the teen.