The top cause of weather-related crashes isn’t what most drivers think

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

New York experiences some pretty intense winter weather during most years. Most people who drive regularly in New York continue driving even during the most severe winter weather, even though sleet, snow and freezing rain can all make driving conditions incredibly perilous.

Anytime there is black ice on the road or visible snow accumulation, drivers tend to be a bit more cautious. However, those snowy and icy streets are far from the most serious risk related to weather that New York drivers encounter. According to federal collisions statistics, the top cause of weather-related collisions is something far more common that drivers can face in any season.

Wet pavement is the top weather-related crash risk

Road Weather Management Program is part of the Federal Highway Administration. It has access to data from all over the country. Researchers with access to that data can look at all of the crashes correlated with bad weather conditions to hunt for trends. The actual top reason for drivers to experience weather related collisions surprises many people. Snowy and icy roads only cause about 24% of the reported crashes related to weather conditions each year. The wet pavement left behind when it rains or after snow melts is technically more dangerous based on the number of wrecks that occur.

Approximately 75% of all weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement. Roughly 47% of the weather-related crashes each year occur during active rainfall. Thankfully, New York drivers familiar with driving and snowy or icy conditions already know exactly how to protect themselves. The same general rules apply when the pavement is wet. Drivers who increase their following distance and reduce their speed will have the best chance of avoiding a preventable weather-related crash in rainy weather or when the pavement is wet. All too often, motorists fail to adjust their habits during rainfall unless there is a risk of the precipitation freezing.

Ultimately, learning the truth behind common urban legends about road safety can help people improve their overall safety in traffic by inspiring them to adjust their behavior and drive defensively to better compensate for the inadequate behavioral adjustments of others.