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Even light rain ups the risk of fatal wrecks

Missouri drivers know that heavy rain can cause roadways to become slippery. However, they may not realize that light rain can also markedly increase the chances of a deadly car accident.

According to a new study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, rain, snow and ice boost the overall risk of a fatal car wreck by about 34%. In addition, the study found that even light rain or drizzle can increase the chances of a deadly accident by 27%.

In order to get these percentages, researchers analyzed data from just over 125,000 deadly wrecks that occurred in the lower 48 states between 2006 and 2011. While previous studies analyzed data from police reports and the closest weather station to each accident, this study used highly accurate weather radar data to determine road conditions at the time of each crash. This meant that researchers could distinguish between heavy rainfall and storms that produced as little as one-tenth of an inch of rain per hour. The study found that moderate rain increases the risk of a fatal accident by 75%, and heavy rain ups the risk by almost 250%. Traffic safety experts say that drivers should always slow down in inclement weather in order to reduce the chances of getting into a crash.

Individuals injured in weather-related car accidents may find it necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation. Typical damages paid out in personal injury claims include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and property loss. Victims may have their case evaluated by contacting an attorney familiar with auto accident claims. If the attorney determines that the case has merit, he or she may be able to gather evidence proving the other driver was at fault and push to get the maximum possible settlement.