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Fatal car crash risk goes up even in light rain

The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has published the results of a study that shows how even light rain can raise the risk of a fatal car crash. Illinois residents should know that this study uses precise data that previous studies of weather-related crashes did not.

In general, the study found that rain, snow and ice raise the risk of a deadly car crash by 34%. Moderate rain makes it 75% more likely while heavy rain makes it two and a half times more likely. Even light rain was found to increase fatal car crash risk by 27%.

To arrive at their conclusion, researchers at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies analyzed 125,012 fatal car crashes that had occurred in the continental states from 2006 to 2011. To calculate risk, they took into account how many cars were on the road.

To gauge the impact of weather on a crash, past studies have had to rely on the information given by police reports and weather stations nearest to the crash, but this study utilized weather radar data. Being precise, it gave researchers the chance to distinguish between degrees of rainfall and snowfall. Even less than one tenth of an inch of rain can be dangerous.

Drivers are expected to be more cautious in rain and snow, even when it is light. In the event that a weather-related crash involved a negligent driver, the one injured at the hands of that driver may be able to file a personal injury claim. A lawyer may assist by evaluating the case and hiring investigators to build it up. Even if they do not find weather radar data, they might find physical evidence at the crash site and perhaps eyewitness testimony.