Road traffic safety is the result of a complex interaction of factors, and causes behind road vehicle crashes require different measures to reduce their impacts. This study assesses how strongly the variation in daily winter crash rates associates with weather conditions in Finland. This is done by illustrating trends and spatiotemporal variation in the crash rates, by showing how a GIS application can evidence the association between temporary rises in regional crash rates and the occurrence of bad weather, and with a regression model on crash rate sensitivity to adverse weather conditions. The analysis indicates that a base rate of crashes depending on non-weather factors exists, and some combinations of extreme weather conditions are able to substantially push up crash rates on days with bad weather. Some spatial causation factors, such as variation of geophysical characteristics causing systematic differences in the distributions of weather variables, exist. Yet, even in winter, non-spatial factors are normally more significant. GIS data can support optimal deployment of rescue services and enhance in-depth quantitative analysis by helping to identify the most appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions. However, the supportive role of GIS should not be inferred as existence of highly significant spatial causation.
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