What Impact Does Bad Weather Have on Car Accident Rates?

As we are moving into spring, all of the road damage that accumulated throughout the winter is beginning to expose itself. Along with that, the weather is likely to start getting a bit unpleasant too (remember: April showers bring May flowers). That means that road conditions are going to be a bit more dangerous as there are more than six million car-related accidents that occur every year.

That is a pretty high number. Out of that six million or so, around one-quarter of the accidents are due to weather and the effects the weather has on the road. And, with that, nearly 6,000 people are killed with around 445,000 injured due to accidents that occur during said lousy weather. If you are to understand how weather impacts car accident rates, it is essential to understand what a weather-related accident is.

Simply put, a weather-related accident is one that takes place in any adverse condition such as sleet, snow, rain, fog, winds, or slick pavement. And, with the spring weather approaching, more are likely to happen as more accidents happen after rainstorms than any other type of bad weather (making up around 73%).


There are more ways that bad weather affects road travel besides making them a bit slick. In these weather conditions, drivers will need to plan accordingly to allow more time to get where they need to go. There are a lot of problems that can be encountered, and they are:

  • A decrease in the amount of weight or pressure that the road can handle due to a large amount of snow, debris blown onto the road from high winds, or road closures that occur from hazardous conditions.
  • On freeway ramps and arterial roads, traffic signal timing can easily become thrown off. Depending on how severe the weather is, delays can reach up to 50%.
  • When the weather is particularly bad, speed reductions will be implemented (rain, snow, fog).


Weather can be confusing in terms of accidents and how liable you may be. The same negligence laws apply to accidents in bad weather as they would to any car accident. Even in adverse conditions, drivers are still expected to drive safely and cautiously. If you are unsure of your liability, it is a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer to go over the steps that need to be taken. A few ways that drivers can avoid accidents include:

  • Ensuring the car is able to function in the weather conditions
  • Adjusting vehicle speed based on driving conditions – not just the posted speed limit
  • Leaving bigger gaps between yourself and the car in front of you
  • Allowing for extra time to get somewhere

It doesn’t matter how careful you drive; sometimes, accidents just happen. There is only so much you can do to protect yourself from other people, but in poor weather, you should err on the side of caution and consider staying home if at all possible. 

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