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Study compares light to heavy rain impact on car crash risk

Connecticut drivers experience changing weather conditions year-round. Although snow may be the weather condition that makes drivers the most cautious, rain can be dangerous too. A recent study reported by the American Meteorological Society compared light rain, moderate rain and heavy rain conditions as they relate to car crash risk. According to the findings, even light rain or a drizzle can increase the risk of a car crash by 27%.

The researchers examined data on over 125,000 car crashes that occurred between 2006 and 2011 in the lower 48 states. Unlike similar studies that have used police reports and data from nearby weather stations to calculate precipitation and weather conditions when accidents occurred, this study was the first, according to its lead author, to use more precise radar data for weather calculations. This allowed the researchers to determine how hard the rain or snowfall was when accidents happened.

While light rain can increase the risk of crash significantly compared to driving in dry conditions, moderate rain bumps up the risk even more. The researchers say that heavy rain can increase crash risk up to two and a half times.

The study showed rain and snow having a bigger impact on the risk of crash in the Northern Rockies and the Upper Midwest. The Northeast and Southeast had a lower risk of crash in bad weather conditions. The lead author attributes this to the urban roads in the eastern part of the country, which may force drivers to drive more slowly.

Drivers are legally responsible for driving safely at all times, so it could be difficult for someone who causes a car accident to claim the weather was responsible. When someone is injured in an accident that was caused by a driver who blames bad weather conditions, it is still within the injured person's rights to file a personal injury claim against the other driver.

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