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Fatal Vehicle Crash Risk Increases During Light Rain

April 26, 2019

UNITED STATES – According to an online news report from, a person’s risk of a fatal vehicle crash increases during rain events, even when the rain is very light. The chances of a deadly crash are increased more as the roads become wetter, particularly during snow and ice events.*

Results from a recent study that was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society say that drivers are at a 34 percent increased risk for deadly accidents during rain, snow, and ice. This is true even when precipitation is mild.

“We’re talking a drizzle,” said the lead author of the study, Scott Stevens, of the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies. “Just at the point where you might consider taking out an umbrella.”

That kind of light rain still increases the risk of a deadly crash by 27 percent. Stevens and other researchers determined the risk percentages by analyzing more than 125,000 fatal traffic accidents in 48 states in the U.S. that occurred between 2006 and 2011. They looked at the accidents and how many vehicles were on the road and were able to come to conclusions about risks.

Stevens said the study used weather data to track rainfall or snowfall at the time of all of the accidents. By comparing the precipitation levels with the accidents, the researchers could see that fatal crashes are more likely even when rain is falling at a slow rate — one-tenth of an inch over an hour.

The study found that heavier rain will increase crash risks by about 75 percent, and very heavy rain will increase the risk by about 2.5 times. 

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Category: Auto Accidents

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