Impact of Weather Conditions on Auto Accidents

accidentsVarious weather conditions can significantly increase the risk of driving on the road. Heavy rain, strong winds, high temperatures and visual impairment may cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle and result in a car accident. Severe weather conditions have a strong correlation to causing auto accidents, and drivers need to be mindful of this risk.

Drivers should also take caution before deciding to drive on roads during severe weather conditions. A driver may be better off waiting until a storm as passed to leave a home. He or she may also want to pull over to the side of the road before completing a journey during a thunderstorm, hurricane or tornado.

Dangerous Weather Conditions Damage Roads and Highways

The U.S Department of Transportation maintains data on severe weather conditions and their effect on roadways and highways. The following table summarizes the impact of weather conditions on roadways, the flow of traffic and a driver’s capabilities on the road:

  • Weather Conditions Impact on Roads and Highways
  • Traffic Flow Effects Impact on Driver’s Capabilities
  • Temperature and Humidity Not Available Not Available
  • Government duty to provide treatments for roads
  • Assessment of construction plans, such as paving
  • Strong Winds
  • Impaired Vision
  • Debris in roadways
  • Congested traffic
  • Delay in arrival
  • Increased risk of auto accidents
  • Unstable vehicle
  • Inability to control vehicle
  • May need to make use of evacuation routes
  • Heavy Rain
  • Impact on pavement friction
  • Obstruction of traffic lanes
  • Impaired vision
  • Delay in travel time
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Impact on traffic speed
  • Decreased traction
  • Inability to control vehicle
  • Broken traffic lights
  • Inability to control speed
  • May require evacuation routes
  • Fog
  • Impaired vision and distance perception • Increased risk of accident
  • Delay in travel time
  • Impact on traffic speed
  • Inability to control speed
  • Inability to perceive cars
  • Lack of control over vehicle
  • Pavement Temperature
  • Poor traction
  • Congested traffic
  • Need for alternative routes
  • Inability to operate vehicle
  • Stuck vehicle
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Duty of government to provide road treatments
  • Pavement Conditions
  • Change in friction
  • Damage to roads and infrastructure
  • Travel delays
  • Accident risks
  • Poor vehicle performance
  • Driver may need to choose alternative route
  • Flooding
  • Submersion of traffic lanes
  • Increased accident risks
  • Travel delays
  • Inability to control or operate vehicle
  • Driver may require evacuation support

Safety Statistics for Drivers Traveling in Severe Weather Conditions

Over 5,800,000 auto accidents occur in the U.S. every year. About 23 percent of these accidents are caused by severe weather conditions. The U.S. Department of Transportation further reports that about 6,250 people die as a result of weather-related auto accidents every year. Over 480,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes every year. Certain weather conditions also account for crashes, and the statistics for over a 10-year period are:

  • Wet Pavement: 74 percent of weather-related crashes
  • Rain: 46 percent
  • Snow: 17 percent
  • Ice: 12 percent
  • Fog: 3 percent

These statistics indicate how dangerous it can be for drivers to travel on wet roads. Drivers may want to reconsider or postpone a trip until weather conditions have cleared and roads have dried.

Effect of Weather Conditions on Traffic Flow

Severe weather conditions may result in snow, slush, flooding and debris accumulation in roads. Freeway traffic speeds may also be reduced due to conditions like strong winds, snow and sleet. Drivers should also be aware that traffic signals may become impaired due to a loss of electricity. Traffic signal impairment may cause significant travel delays.

Precautions Drivers Should Take Before Heading On The Road

Drivers should stay tuned to Internet, radio or television traffic reports before traveling in dangerous conditions. A driver must take certain precautions before making the choice to drive in dangerous weather conditions. He or she may need to travel at slow speeds and should be mindful of the presence of other drivers on the road. In addition, drivers should have phone numbers readily available for roadside assistance services. In the event that a driver becomes involved in an accident, a roadside assistance service may arrive at the scene to assist the driver. Law enforcement or ambulance services may not be readily available during serious storms, hurricanes or tornadoes. Drivers should know of this risk before making their way onto the road.

Speak with Auto Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been involved in a weather-related auto accident, it may be time to speak with an auto accident attorney. Our Chicago auto accident attorneys at Rosefeld Injury Lawyers are here to help you during this difficult time. Our lawyers can counsel and help you assess all of the legal options available. Call one of our lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation.