You’ll Never Guess the Most Common Reason for Weather-Related Car Crashes

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Lisa Steuer McArdle
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Everyone knows that driving in the winter can be dangerous, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. After all, when there’s an increase in icy conditions, you expect
car crashes to increase
as well.
However, you might be surprised to find out there’s been a dramatic increase in weather-related car crashes due to cloudiness in the past several years, according to data compiled here at
. In fact, it’s the leading cause for weather-related crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 
Cloudiness is the leading cause for weather-related crashes.

What the data says about car crashes

Jerry analyzed crash data from the NHTSA from 2005-2019. Climate-related crashes were those where rain, drizzle, snow, fog, smog, smoke, sleet, dust, severe crosswinds, blowing sand/dirt, cloudy weather, or blowing snow were listed on the crash report as causes for the crash.
According to the data, weather-related crashes have increased by 397 incidents on average year over year in the last 14 years. When you add it all up, weather-related crashes have increased by 72% from 2005-2019.
In addition, cloudiness, which impacts visibility according to NHTSA, is the weather condition that has increased most in the last several years. It’s been the leading cause of weather-related car crashes for about 10 years.
Other info in our data analysis reveals that in 2015, rain and cloud-related crashes had a mini-peak, while in 2016, rain-related crashes steadily increased. 

Cloudiness and car crashes

When you think of driving conditions, cloudiness may not top your list of weather-related events you consider to be more dangerous than others.
But the reality is that cloudiness can lead to poor visibility, which can result in car crashes when the driver can’t properly see the road or other drivers.
There is even 2018 data from the NHTSA even found that cloudy weather causes 5,000 fatal car crashes every year, according to
. Rain was next on the list, at 2,800 fatal car crashes a year, followed by snow, which was found to have just under 400 car crashes a year. 

Driving safe in cloudy conditions

When it’s cloudy out, it also means that rain might be a factor, which can also contribute to an increase in car crashes. If you find yourself driving when it’s cloudy and/or rainy outside, there are a few steps you can take to drive more safely, according to
The Weather Channel
Whenever you are driving in a situation where there is reduced visibility, it’s always a good idea to drive at a safe speed so that you have adequate stopping distance.
But, you shouldn’t slow down so much that it becomes more of a risk to other cars on the road. When there is reduced visibility, drivers may follow the taillights of cars in front of them—which is important to remember.
If you find that you have to pull to the side of the road when there’s a reduction in visibility, make sure you pull over as far as you can, and turn on your hazard lights so that other cars can see where you are.
If you cannot see the traffic well, it might help to listen by having your window open slightly if possible. 
Unfortunately car crashes happen all year long, so it’s important to make sure you have good car insurance coverage.
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