Study Shows Even Light Rain Can Increase the Risk of Car Accidents
Driving in a heavy downpour can be risky for drivers. But a new study shows how even light rain can increase the risk of car accidents for drivers. The results of the study, published online in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, found that when it rains, the risk of a car accident increases by about 34 percent.
The researchers also found that the risk is worse during the winter and the morning rush hour.
Risk Level is Elevated
With the chance of rain this year in May and June in Southern California, it is important for drivers to be cognizant of the fact that even light rain could prove risky. As part of the study, researchers analyzed past radar data to identify what the weather was at the recorded time and location of 193,840 fatal crashes from across the United States for 2006 through 2011.
They found that the risk increased by about 25 percent and 146 percent for their classifications of light heavy rain respectively. These relative risks reflect the increase of the chances of a crash during rain versus during dry weather. In the article, researchers suggest that rainfall, including light rain, often tricks drivers into believing that the risk level for a car accident is not high.
Rain is dangerous because it causes your tires to lose traction. When the road gets wet, the water mixes with the dirt on the asphalt making it more difficult for the tires to hang on to the road. Rain makes everything slippery and puddles that form on the road can lead to hydroplaning. Rain also hampers visibility, which increases crash risk. On Southern California freeways, we know that even light rain can cause significant damage because they cause the roadways to become slick.
Driving Safely in the Rain
If it’s raining hard after a period of dryness as it often does in Southern California, you need to be even more cautious on the road. Over time, engine oil and other substances build up on streets, and when rainwater gets added to the mix, a very slippery combination results. The first few hours of that initial rain are the most treacherous. Eventually, the rain tends to wash away the buildup on the streets, but until then, be wary when driving anywhere.
Use your windshield wipers and headlights while driving in the rain. Make sure you keep enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you have been injured in a car accident you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.