West Virginia drivers might want to use extra caution when traveling on rain-slicked roads. According to a new study, even light rain can significantly increase the danger of a fatal car accident.
To calculate the risk of a fatal car accident in wet weather, researchers at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies analyzed data from over 125,000 deadly crashes that occurred between 2006 and 2011. They found that rain, snow and ice spiked the chances of a car wreck by 34%. In addition, they discovered that even light drizzle increased the risk of a fatal accident by 27%.
According the lead author of the study, previous studies have examined police reports and data from the closest weather station to determine the road conditions at the time of a deadly accident, but this study is the first to utilize highly accurate radar data. As a result, researchers were able to determine that rain falling at a rate of less than one-tenth of an inch per hour significantly increased the danger of a fatal crash when compared to clear weather. Meanwhile, moderate rainfall increased the risk of a crash by 75%. The authors of the study said they hope the results will encourage drivers to slow down whenever they encounter wet roadways.
Drivers are required to maintain safe control of their vehicle at all times, including during inclement weather. Drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents by failing to slow down in rainy weather might be held accountable in civil court. An attorney may be able to help an injured victim file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages, including pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. If a victim dies, his or her next of kin might file a lawsuit seeking funeral costs, loss of income and more.