According to a new analysis of federal data, snow and ice are not the most deadly driving hazards. That title goes to rain, which causes more fatalities than snow in 39 out of 50 states. Weather-related accidents in general cause thousands of accidents every year and at least 7,000 fatalities. The report was compiled by the Auto Insurance Center based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data that covered all U.S. fatal crashes between 2009 and 2013.
That said, while weather-related incidents are common and often deadly, far more people are still killed due to reckless driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Why are snow and ice less of a hazard than rain? Experts say that it is because wet conditions are more common and drivers are generally less cautious than they might be when faced with something that appears to be more dangerous and less common an occurrence. Additionally, rain can make roads slicker, especially when it has not rained in a while and oil residue builds up. Not only can it make the road itself less safe, but rain can also impair visibility. Surprisingly, even Alaska has more deadly crashes related to rain than snow.
In 10 states, including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, and Minnesota, snow was a bigger hazard than rain. In North Dakota, snow and rain caused an equal amount of fatal crashes.
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