Can Drizzle Lead to Serious Car Wrecks? New Study Says Yes

Adverse weather doesn’t make for easy driving, and while most people are aware of the added dangers that come with downpours, sleet, snow, and ice, not everyone exerts the same level of caution when driving in “drizzle.” According to a new study, however, even light ran can substantially increase fatal car crash risks.

The study, conducted by researchers at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, takes a look at how even light rain can post deadly risks. Here are some details about the study and what researchers found:

  • Data analysts and meteorologists evaluated more than 120,000 fatal car crashes in the 48 mainland states from 2006 to 2011, and factored in the numbers of vehicles on the road to come up with their final risk calculations.
  • The research is the first to use more precise data about weather. Rather than relying on police reports and the nearest weather stations, the study closely distinguished how hard rain or snow was falling (within less than one-tenth of an inch per hour) at the time of a fatal wreck.
  • In even light drizzle, roughly the point where a person would consider taking out an umbrella – researchers found risks of fatal crashes increased by 27%.
  • Heavier rain is even more risky; fatal car crash risks increase by as much as 75% in moderate rain, and by nearly 2.5x in heavy rain.

The study confirms there are significant risks associated with poor weather conditions, and that, naturally, the greatest risks come with even slight rain. Researchers noted that while those risks increase when the weather and wetness worsen, it’s more common for motorists to slow down in heavy rains. Motorists who may underappreciate the risks of even drizzle, they suggest, could very well find themselves in motor vehicle accidents.

How Can Weather Play a Role in Auto Accident Cases?

At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, our personal injury lawyers have represented victims harmed in all types of crashes and collisions in Cleveland and across Ohio. Many of these cases arise from negligence, meaning a party or multiple parties failed to uphold their duty of care for taking reasonable safety steps when driving.

What’s reasonable when it comes to driving? Avoiding distractions and texting behind the wheel, for one. Drunk driving, running red lights, and failing to properly survey one’s surroundings when changing lanes or making turns are others. Driving fast in rain, or faster than what a reasonable person would deem safe in poor or dangerous conditions, however, isn’t always necessarily “reasonable.”

Whether its speeding above the posted limit, driving too fast in rain, or driving in a manner a person knows (or should know) could endanger others is arguably negligence. As civil trial lawyers, we help clients injured in wrecks investigate their accidents to determine the underlying causes, who can be held liable and how, and what we can do to prove their claims and advocate for fair and full compensation.

If you have questions about a potential car accident case in Cleveland or anywhere in the state of Ohio, our firm is here to help. Contact us for a free review of your case.


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