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Fatal car accident risk rises significantly even in light rain

Missouri sees all kinds of weather, and most motorists know to slow down in pouring rain or freezing rain. A light drizzle, however, tends not to alarm people too much, but a new traffic accident study concluded that light rain increases the danger of a deadly wreck by 27% compared to clear weather. The lead author of the study said that people lacked appreciation for the level of risk produced by light rain that only adds up to one-tenth of an inch per hour.

A data scientist led the study that analyzed weather radar data for the locations of 125,012 fatal car accidents. The data came from the lower 48 states and covered the years 2006 to 2011. The precision of the weather data allowed the researchers to identify accurately the level of precipitation during crashes that killed people.

When rain falls harder than a drizzle, the chances of a fatal accident increase by 75%. Heavy rain presents serious risk with a 250% greater chance of traffic fatalities compared to a nice day.

This study provided a better picture of the influence of precipitation on traffic safety than earlier studies. Prior research had relied on information from police reports or the weather stations closest to accidents.

Wet conditions call for drivers to exercise greater caution on the road. Someone badly hurt in an accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver might wish to pursue a personal injury claim. An attorney knowledgeable about car accidents may provide support that raises the likelihood of securing a financial settlement for medical expenses and lost income. An attorney might seek testimony from an accident reconstruction specialist to tip the scales in favor of an accident victim who needs to prove that the other driver acted negligently.

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