New Jersey sees quite a few weather-related car crashes every year. Most people think of winter weather as the primary concern, and there’s little question that snow, ice and sleet put people at increased risk of a crash on the roads. The winter months can bring punishing storms that leave the streets covered in drifts of snow or slick ice like a skating rink. Such conditions obviously increase the possibility of a crash.
However, precipitation doesn’t need to freeze for it to lead to a collision. Many New Jersey collisions involve rain rather than snow, sleet or ice. In fact, nationwide research into weather-related collisions shows that even light precipitation can increase someone’s likelihood of a motor vehicle collision.
Rain storms are more dangerous than people realize
Every time it rains, every driver’s crash risk goes up. Storms are dangerous on their own, and they also lead to more dangerous road conditions. Even if the rain itself only lasts for a few minutes, the wet pavements that result will likely be a safety concern for at least an hour or two.
According to federal crash research performed by the Department of Transportation, wet pavement is to blame for at least 75% of all weather-related crashes, while 47% of such collisions occurred during active rainstorms. Thousands of people will end up hurt or even die because of what they thought was a minor spring rainstorm.
Wet pavement can increase stopping distance and decrease someone’s overall control of their vehicle. Hydroplaning becomes a concern as well. Precipitation can affect visibility and can also slow the rate of traffic, which can lead to some people engaging in more erratic driving behaviors. In severe cases, high levels of rainfall can lead to street flooding.
Late winter and early spring often see a substantial amount of precipitation across New Jersey. Drivers can protect themselves by avoiding going out during active rainfall whenever possible and by reducing their speed and increasing their following distance when the pavement is wet.
Learning more about different seasonal traffic concerns and how to adjust driving behaviors for maximum safety can benefit those who hope to avoid a motor vehicle collision.