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New Study: West Virginia among top ten in fatal car wrecks

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(WVVA) - Rainy days like Monday could lead to more car accidents. New studies show that West Virginia is among the top in the country for the most fatal crashes. A lot of those crashes are due to weather.

West Virginia ranks 8th in the nation in fatal car wrecks. With nearly 15 deadly crashes per 100,000 residents, according to data gathered by Auto Insurance Quote.

New evidence from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) shows that most crashes in West Virginia are weather related.

This NOAA graphic shows that West Virginia leads the nation in flood and flash flood related fatalities.

"That graphic is demonstrating and communicating that per area, West Virginia experiences more flood and flash flood fatalities than any other state in the United States."

Phil Hysell, National Weather Service in Blacksburg

Many of those deaths are due to people driving through flooded roadways. It only takes one foot of water to float vehicles and just two feet of water to wash large vehicles like SUVs and trucks away.

"If you see standing water, do not take a chance of going through it, and if you go through water that is deep enough, your vehicle can stall out because you can get water in the motor, and then you can be stranded in the middle of the water."

Lt. Jeremy Halsey, Princeton City Police Dept.

"(Whether) it's snow, ice, rain whatever, obviously you want to slow the speed down. Increase the distance between the vehicles in front of you to allow for better braking."

Capt. Keith Gannoe, Princeton City Fire Dept.

There were numerous accidents due to freezing rain across our viewing area on Sunday, including a fatal head on collision in Greenbrier County.

National Weather Service officials say some crashes can be prevented by adhering to "life saving" watches, warnings and advisories and checking the forecast before hitting the road.

"If you see freezing rain in the forecast, see if you can change your travel plans to travel at a different time. Call 511 see what the road conditions are across (your area) if you do plan on traveling. Make sure your car is winterized to make sure it can handle the winter weather conditions that occur in our area."

Phil Hysell, National Weather Service in Blacksburg

The Commonwealth of Virginia ranks 34th on that list for most fatal crashes. Auto Insurance quote used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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