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How much does weather affect the risk of accidents?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2021 | Car Accidents

Driving in the rain can be a hassle. However, it is critical to remember that changes in weather conditions also mean changes in road conditions.

Even if North Carolina motorists take more care behind the wheel when it rains, it is still common to wonder: just how dangerous is it to drive in the rain?

The short answer? Quite a bit.

A 2019 study found that the chance of being in a fatal accident increases significantly when it rains. The results indicated that the risk of an accident rose:

  • By 27% even in a light rain
  • By 34% in rainy, snowy or icy conditions

For drivers in North Carolina, the biggest risk is the rain. And according to the Federal Highway Administration, most weather-related crashes occurred when it was raining or on wet roads.

What are the biggest risks of bad weather?

The researchers who conducted the 2019 study indicated that some risks stemmed from drivers underestimating the danger of bad weather. Particularly when driving in a drizzle or light rain, it is common for drivers to misjudge the risk. They might only believe it is dangerous to drive when it is raining heavily.

However, rainy conditions also create risks that drivers cannot control, but should take into account to stay safe. These particular risks include:

  • Reduced visibility, which is already a common risk factor on the road, and makes it even more important to turn headlights on
  • Reduced traction, which can increase stopping distances considerably and make it easier to lose control if speeding

There is another hazard as well. Like with distracted driving, even if an individual takes precautions to drive safely and defensively when it rains, other drivers might not. Those drivers still pose a risk on the road. No matter the weather, drivers must always be alert to avoid serious accidents.