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Expert Says Accidents Are More Likely Following ‘First Wet Days’

During winter, law enforcement officials often urge drivers to be cautious due to the slippery, icy roads. While many drivers understand that the cold weather can make roads more dangerous, many often ignore the fact that even a rain is enough to make roads more slick. In order to help drivers better understand the risks associated with driving after it rains, reporters talked to experts. 

According to a Seattle-based meteorologist with an undergraduate degree in physics, because cars often leak fluids while on the road, oil buildup becomes hazardous when rain falls. That’s because oil and water don’t mix, he told reporters. 

As the rain begins to pour, he explained, the oil floats to the top. Even after the rain stops, the oil remains a hazard. To prevent accidents, he added, it is important to keep in mind that until the oil and dirt get washed away, the road will remain slippery. But should drivers be worried about rain alone? 

According to the expert, roads become even more slippery if it’s just drizzling. 

To get the dirt and oil washed away, he told reporters, roads require a great deal of water. After a dry spell, a light rain or just a drizzle won’t be enough to wash away all the oil and fluid buildup. That means that the road will be even more slippery and for longer. 

WSP Data Reveals That Wet Roads Lead To More Traffic Accidents

According to the Washington State Patrol, data collected from the first “wet days” from the last five years showed that authorities respond to more reports of accidents on those days than on the day prior to rainfall. While in 2020 the number of auto accidents reported on the first wet day did not match other years’ mainly due to the stay-at-home orders, officials said. In any case, drivers must not ignore the risks, even if there are fewer cars on the road. 

Whether it drizzles or it pours, the road will become more slippery. Speeding and ignoring speed limits should always be avoided —  come rain or come shine.  
For more on what the expert had to say, follow this link.

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