Hunter & Cassidy Law

Wet winter and spring weather inspires unique driving risks

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2024 | Motor vehicle accidents

Missouri experiences plenty of precipitation during the winter and spring months. When discussing road hazards, the focus is often on freezing precipitation. People operate under the assumption that snow and ice are the most dangerous road conditions possible.

While there is little question that snowy and icy streets are dangerous for drivers, federal crash statistics show that snow, sleet and ice are only responsible for a minority of the weather-related collisions that occur every year. While rainy weather is banal and commonplace, it can be a major safety concern for drivers and vehicle occupants in Missouri.

Wet pavement causes the most crashes

Winter weather is the underlying cause of only 24% of the reported crashes each year caused by weather conditions. Just 15% of weather-related collisions occur during active snowfall. According to federal crash statistics, wet roads are the leading cause of weather-related collisions.

Approximately 75% of all collisions caused by the weather occur when the pavement is wet. Only 47% of the total crashes occurred during an actual rainstorm. Even after the rain stops falling, the pavement may remain slick for some time.

Some drivers recognize that active precipitation is a safety concern, but once the rain stops, they may attempt to drive as they normally would. Drivers not concerned about visibility issues caused by falling rain may fail to adjust their driving habits for optimal safety. They may drive at or over the speed limit and fail to maintain an appropriate following distance.

Then, they may learn the hard way that wet pavement reduces their traction and increases their overall stopping distance. Even if there is a clear weather-related cause for a crash, police officers can still declare someone at fault for a collision. The law in Missouri requires that drivers adjust their conduct on the road to reflect the degree of risk.

Someone who has been hurt in a crash that occurs on wet pavement may have grounds to file an insurance claim or take legal action against a driver who failed to slow down or otherwise adjust their driving habits to properly reflect the risks related to wet pavement. Seeking legal guidance is generally wise when weather influences the cause of a crash, as at-fault parties may be inclined to blame the situation entirely on Mother Nature.