Study: Even light drizzle can increase your risk of a fatal crash

Stay safe out there.

It's no surprise that a torrential downpour can increase your risk of being involved in a severe car accident, but a new study shows that even a light drizzle can significantly increase your odds of having a deadly crash.

According to the study, which was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the risk for a fatal car accident increases by 27 percent when light precipitation is present. That compares to a 34 percent increase in the risk of having a fatal crash during more severe weather. Researches were surprised to find such a small variance between the two driving conditions.

"People slow down when it starts to rain heavily, but I think they under-appreciate the risk of light rain,” Scott Stevens, lead author of the study, told The Detroit News.

Stevens' report is unique in that it considers weather severity as it relates to fatal accidents. Previous studies have only been able to determine the presence of rain or snow at the time of a crash, not the severity.

Stevens' and his colleagues were able to reach that new level of detail thanks to radar data. Unlike reports generated from the nearest weather station, which were used in prior studies involving fatal car crashes, the radar data Stevens used provided his team with a detailed weather analysis at the exact location of the accident.

Although the study shows that even light rain can increase your risk of death, a drizzle pales in comparison to the dangerous of driving through heavy rain or snow. Stevens' study found that driving through hazardous weather conditions increases your risk of a fatal car accident by two-and-a-half times.

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