Behind the wheel, it is important for drivers to pay attention to anything that could increase the likelihood of a collision. From dangerous intersections and sharp turns to chaotic rush hour traffic, many different hazards can make a crash more likely. Furthermore, bad weather plays a role in many auto accidents, and negligent behavior (speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving) becomes particularly concerning when weather conditions deteriorate.
It is crucial for drivers to focus on traffic safety at all times and pay particularly close attention when weather deteriorates.
How often do weather-related traffic crashes happen?
The Federal Highway Administration reports that roughly 1,235,000 traffic collisions involving weather-related factors take place during a typical year, making up about 21% of all traffic crashes. Among weather-related accidents, 70% involve slick pavement and 46% involve rain. During an average year, accidents involving inclement weather claim almost 5,000 lives and leave more than 418,000 people hurt.
How does weather contribute to traffic crashes?
Many weather-related factors can cause a crash. Precipitation can adversely affect vehicle traction, visibility and driver behavior. Fog and strong winds can make it hard for drivers to see the road by decreasing visibility, which can also lead to speed variance. Wind can blow debris onto the roadway or cause lane obstruction due to fallen tree branches.
Unfortunately, some people drive erratically during inclement weather, which becomes particularly risky. For example, a drunk or distracted driver could hit someone when poor visibility makes it harder to see the road or bad weather causes them to lose control of their vehicle.