Often, studies confirm what many people suspect to be true. In some instances, studies will surprise and educate readers more than expected.
A recent study from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Study was released and contained surprising findings – fatal car accidents are more likely to occur during a light rain, or what is generally known as a “drizzle” than during heavy rain events.
The study evaluated more than 125,000 fatal accidents that occurred in the United States between 2006 and 2011. The researchers were meticulous with regard to researching and discovering the weather conditions at the time of the accident. They gathered this information from radar data analysis as well as notes in the police report regarding the weather conditions.
Findings of Study of Fatal Accidents and Weather Impact
Overall, they found that fatal auto accidents were 34 percent more likely to occur when any sort of precipitation was falling. They also found that fatal accidents were 27 percent more likely to occur during light rain as compared with other types of precipitation events such as heavy rain and snow. They attributed this difference to human behavior and surmised that drivers are more likely to drive more slowly when there is heavy rain, snow or hail events. In other words, when the weather is more serious, people are more likely to take it seriously.
When the weather event was less severe, such as the presence of a light rain where pedestrians may or may not use an umbrella when moving about in the rain, drivers are less likely to react to any impact the weather may have on the road. Drivers are less likely to believe that a light rain will have an impact on their ability to stop and accelerate as quickly as in dry weather.
Accidents, Time, and Location
The study also found the most accidents occurred during rush hour and also in the morning. Although the number of fatal accidents were higher in the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain region than the Southeast and the Northeastern United States, researchers concluded that this was likely related to the fact that there are more urban centers in this area and therefore fewer opportunities for speeding.
Weather and Driver Behavior
Therefore, although a light rain may not be inherently more dangerous than a more severe weather event, it is more likely to catch drivers off guard and therefore not cause drivers to be more cautious. Often, drivers caught in a snowstorm or heavy rain will take more precautions suck as using a lower gear, driving more slowly, limit other distractions, or make sure both hands are on the steering wheel. This is likely not the case when drivers are just barley turning on the windshield wipers or turning them on and off as a result of intermittent or light rain. Light rain can still cause slippery surfaces and decreased vision which may be largely unanticipated and therefore, in the end, more dangerous.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Recover Compensation for Victims of Negligence
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages and other compensation. The Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can assess the facts of your case with a free consultation. Contact us online or at 302-888-1221 or 215-569-8488.
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