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Exactly how dangerous is driving in the rain?

Everyone knows to be careful when driving in nasty weather. Our parents told us to go slower around turns, allow more time to stop and keep those wipers running. Here in Minnesota we know exactly how bad it can be even as winter winds down.

But how much does bad weather actually affect the chance of accidents? One study shows that the risk of driving in rain or snow is much higher than previously thought.

The numbers keep going up

Older statistics about the risk of driving in rain were fairly inaccurate—claiming that the increase in danger was between 10 and 76 percent. However, a new study from North Carolina State University uses GPS and radar data to see how much rain affects the chance of crashing.

The results are not even close to the original estimates. In light precipitation, the chance of fatal accidents increases by 127 percent. If the rain or snow gets heavy, it shoots up to 246 percent.

What can you do to decrease the risk?

The danger of driving in the rain might make you consider staying home when the clouds get dark. But you can keep yourself safer by preparing and driving carefully. Make sure that you:

  • Properly inflate your tires
  • Leave more distance between you and other cars in case of sudden braking
  • Leave your headlights and wipers on
  • Watch out for large puddles

We all want the warm summer months to come as quickly as possible, but we have to be prepared for the transition period in the coming weeks. The snowy season is finally at an end, but we are certain to see more rainy days. Be sure to stay safe whenever we don’t have the sun shining over our heads.

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