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Study: fatal crashes possible even in light rain

Driving in rain, ice, and snow can be dangerous in New York. According to a Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, heavy rain, snow, and ice raises the risk for a fatal car crash by 34%. Now, a study from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies has been able to add to that with more precise discoveries.

Researchers analyzed 125,012 fatal auto accidents that occurred between 2006 and 2011 in the lower 48 states, factoring in the number of cars on the road to calculate risk. The study was the first of its kind to use the precise information gathered by weather radars. Previous ones had to depend on police reports and information from nearby weather stations to calculate rainfall and snowfall at the time of a crash.

It turns out that while heavy rain more than doubles the chances of a fatal crash, and while moderate rain increases that risk by 75%, even light rain has a negative impact. In all, a drizzle of less than one tenth of an inch per hour can still make a deadly accident 27% more likely.

Around the country, the Northern Rockies and Upper Midwest saw the highest risk. The Northeast and Southeast, possibly because they are more urbanized, saw the lowest risk.

Driving too fast for prevailing road and weather conditions can be a form of negligence. Occupants of other vehicles who are injured in a resulting collision often suffer serious injuries that require extensive and costly medical care and treatment. They might find it advisable to have the assistance of an experienced attorney when seeking compensation for their losses.