How Your Chance of a Car Accident Increases in Inclement Weather
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on July 5, 2019
Driving in even the best weather comes with its own risks. Drivers must stay alert while operating a vehicle and be aware of surrounding drivers and possible obstructions. Unfortunately, even when a driver is doing the best they can to safely get their vehicle from Point A to Point B, accidents can happen.
The most common types of vehicle accidents include merging collisions, rear-end accidents, side-impact crashes, multi-vehicle accidents, and head-on impacts. These are all car accidents that can be minor or completely devastating depending on the severity. Another factor that plays a role in determining the severity of a car accident is the weather.
The chance of a person getting into a car accident increases in inclement weather for a multitude of reasons. Today, on the Law Office of Cooper and Friedman blog, we’re going to go over how your chance of experiencing a car accident increases in inclement weather and what to do if you are in a car accident.
Statistics Around How Your Chance of a Car Accident Increases in Inclement Weather
It’s a common misconception that only severe weather increases the chance of a car accident occurring. In all actuality, any sort of inclement weather ups the likeliness of a car accident. And, even more sobering, is the fact that inclement weather increases the likelihood of a car accident resulting in a fatality.
A study published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) reported that when rain or snow is falling, the chance of a deadly car crash occurring increases by an average of 34 percent. This includes any amount of precipitation ranging from a light drizzle to blizzard conditions. The study further concluded that while light snowfall or rainfall increases the chance of a car accident by 27 percent, heavier inclement weather almost doubles that percentage.
While rain and snow increase the chance of a fatal car accident, there are other factors to be considered, as well. The study by BAMs featured some additional findings such as:
- When rain, or snow, is falling car crashes substantially increase during times when rush hour traffic is on the road.
- More traffic accidents occur in rural areas than in urban areas when precipitation is falling. This is due to rural drivers operating their vehicles at higher speeds.
- Inclement winter weather results in more car accidents than inclement summer weather. This is because snow creates more hazards (slick streets, black ice, etc.) than rain does.
How to Stay Safe on the Road During Inclement Weather
Meteorologists and advocates for safe driving recommend a few different approaches to staying safe on the road during inclement weather. Within the BAMS study, awareness campaigns and improved forecasting methods are recommended to lower the likeliness of a car crash occurring in rain or snow. Another suggestion is to expand variable speed limits based on road conditions across highways and roadways.
Additional practices that drivers can implement to stay safe on the road during inclement weather include:
- Using hazards during heavy rain increases visibility. Hazards also alert other drivers that the vehicle’s speed is significantly below the posted speed limit.
- Avoiding deep puddles of standing water that could possibly cause a vision impairment of fellow drivers when driven through.
- Keeping twice as much recommended space between vehicles while snow is on the road. This practice helps to avoid rear-end collisions due to sliding over ice and hard-packed snow.
- Wearing sunglasses when the sun is shining and it is raining heavily can increase a driver’s visibility on the road.
- Weighing down the trunk of a car in the winter time helps to prevent fishtailing.
What to Do if You are In a Car Accident During Inclement Weather
Car accidents are upsetting even when they happen on the prettiest of days. Car accidents during inclement weather are scary, upsetting, and dangerous. This is especially true when snow is involved as it makes roadways much more volatile. Whether you are in a car accident during heavy snowfall or a torrential downpour, you must take action. There are specific things to do if you are in a car accident during inclement weather to protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the roads. Not doing certain things only increases the likelihood of you getting into a more dangerous situation.
If you are in a car accident, during rain or snow, and you are injured or unable to escape your car, call 911 immediately for assistance. Inclement weather makes it harder for emergency personnel to respond to emergency calls and longer to arrive at the scene of the accident. If you are in a car accident during inclement weather. are able to get out of your vehicle, and are not critically injured then it is important to do the following:
- Immediately alert emergency officials that there has been an accident and give them your whereabouts.
- Put up emergency cones, flares, or activate hazard lights to alert other drivers that there is an accident.
- If possible, move the crashed vehicle(s) off the road to avoid other drivers colliding into them causing a pile-up.
- Check the involved parties for injuries and treat them accordingly to the best of your ability until EMS arrives.
- Exchange insurance information with all parties involved in the crash and collect photographic evidence of the crash.
Contact Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Louisville, Kentucky
After you have recovered from a car accident, it is important to contact your insurance company and then a lawyer. Regardless if the crash was your fault or not, the inclement weather may play an important role. At the Law Office of Cooper and Friedman, in Louisville, Kentucky, we have over 40 years of combined experience in car accident law. Call 502-459-7555 today if you, or a loved one, has been in a car accident and would like a free consultation. You can also use our contact form to get in touch with us.