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Even light rain increases fatal accident risks substantially

A recently published study suggests that motorists in Louisiana and around the country greatly underestimate the dangers of driving in rainy conditions. A team of researchers led by a data analyst from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies examined the prevailing weather conditions when 125,012 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred between 2006 and 2011, and they found that even light rain increased the chances of being involved in a deadly collision by 27%. The study was published on March 29 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Other research into the link between precipitation and car accident risks has relied on police and local weather reports, but the researchers behind the latest climate study used high-resolution radar data instead to determine how much rain was falling at the precise time and place crashes occurred. They found that rain, snow or ice increased the chances of a fatal accident by 34%, and heavy rain made deadly crashes 250% more likely.

The researchers found that weather-related car accident risks were highest in the Upper Midwest and Northern Rockies and lowest in the Southeast and Northeast. They concluded that rainfall in northeast urban areas did not cause as many accidents because higher traffic levels reduced speeds.

Motorists are expected to remain alert and vigilant at all times, and this is particularly important when weather conditions are poor. Experienced personal injury attorneys may have the vehicles involved in wet-weather accidents inspected when preparing litigation filed on behalf of road users who suffered injury, loss or damage. Inspections might provide evidence of negligence such as worn or underinflated tires, inadequate maintenance or shoddily completed repair work. Attorneys may also be able to issue subpoenas for cellphone records to find out if the drivers who injured their clients may have been distracted when accidents occurred.

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