Louisiana sees its fair share of inclement weather in the form of hurricanes and severe wind storms. Parts of the state can also sometimes see tornadoes, which can blow in quickly and leave behind total devastation.
However, such extreme weather events are rare and typically short-lived, which means that drivers may take for granted that they enjoy a minimal weather-related crash risk in Louisiana. Most people think of snow storms and icy roads when they think of weather-related collisions. However, a quick glance at federal collision statistics makes it clear that that assumption is actually inaccurate. Drivers in Louisiana are at elevated risk of a weather-related crash because the biggest contributing factors are wet pavement and rain.
Wet pavement is the top cause of weather-related collisions
The precipitation hitting the road does not need to be frozen when it falls or freeze after hitting the pavement to create elevated crash risk. Moisture on the roads is a known safety issue that can lead to severe collisions.
Wet pavement is a constant safety concern, as rain and overnight mist or fog can leave the streets damp. Even after the precipitation ends, an individual’s crash risk remains higher than usual. Approximately 75% of the weather-related crashes that occur in the United States every year happen on wet pavement, frequently after storms stop. Approximately 47% of those collisions occurred during rainstorms.
Conversely, snowstorms are only responsible for roughly 24% of collisions directly related to weather. Snow and ice are almost never concern for Louisiana drivers, but rain certainly is.
How can drivers reduce weather-related crashes?
There are numerous steps that can help minimize someone’s chance of experiencing a weather-related collision. Staying off the roads during times of precipitation and especially extreme weather is a smart decision.
Proper vehicle maintenance, including keeping tires well-inflated and ensuring they have sufficient tread, can reduce the possibility of losing traction or hydroplaning. Planning extra time into a schedule when the is a risk of rain or wet pavement allows drivers to maintain slower speeds so that they can have better control over their vehicles.
Recognizing and addressing factors that contribute to motor vehicle crash risk can benefit drivers in Louisiana who want to avoid being involved in a wreck.