How much does precipitation affect car accidents?
Most drivers understand the importance of driving safely while it is raining or snowing. Reduced visibility, slippery surfaces, and traffic congestion are just some of the conditions that can affect a driver’s ability to drive safely in inclement weather.
But most drivers are probably not aware to what extent weather affects their safety on the road.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have determined precipitation’s effect on fatal car accidents.
This is especially pertinent for those who live and drive in Washington.
Washington is home to some of the rainiest places in the United States. Aberdeen Reservoir, Forks, Mt. Rainier, Humptulips, Swift Reservoir, Naselle, Clearwater State Park, Baring, and Grays River Hatchery are all listed in the top 12 highest precipitation areas in the U.S.
And on average, it rains or snows more than 130 days per year in Seattle.
Researchers used radar data to determine how much precipitation was falling in the area where the accident occurred. They determined that:
· Fatal crash risk increases by 246 percent when driving in heavy rain or snow
· Fatal crash risk increases by 127 percent when driving in light precipitation
When do drivers face the highest risk of dying in precipitation-related crash? During their morning commute.
Additionally, researchers found that precipitation-related crash risk is higher in rural areas compared to urban.
When it comes to weather events causing fatalities (think tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.), traffic accidents are the number one killer.
Drivers in Washington and across the country should focus on driving safe when it is raining or snowing. Even if the precipitation is light, we know that the chances of dying in a traffic accident during this time increases.