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Study finds crash risk increases with only light rain

Even when only a light rain is falling, Iowa drivers might be at greater risk on the road than they would be in clear weather. The Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society has published a study that reports that the risk of a fatal motor vehicle accident increased by 27 percent in a light rain.

The study's lead author is a meteorologist and data analyst with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, and he says his study differs from others because of the precision of the weather data used. Along with his colleagues, he examined more than 125,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the continental United States between 2006 and 2011 and found that under one-tenth of an inch of rain hourly still drives up the chance of a deadly crash. Moderate rain increases the threat by 75 percent. When rain is heavy, the risk is more than two times greater.

The lowest-risk places were the Northeast and Southeast. The snow and rain in the Upper Midwest and Northern Rockies contributed to the greater danger in those regions. The study author theorized that the higher density in the East also means that people drove more slowly.

When people cause motor vehicle accidents because they are driving too fast for conditions, are distracted during a rainstorm or for some other reason, others could suffer catastrophic injuries. They could be in rehabilitation for months, or they might be permanently disabled. Compensation can be critical for people who are unable to work after an accident. Usually, the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident is supposed to pay this compensation, but in some cases, the insurance company might not offer enough, or the driver may be uninsured. Victims who are in this position might want to have legal assistance throughout the process.

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