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(Credit: Stevan Ovicigor/iStockphoto)

There are about 1.2 million weather-related car accidents every year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Year-round, drivers need to be cautious of how they operate their vehicles in heavy rains, snow and sleet, thunderstorms and other inclement conditions.

By combining map and weather technology, the new Drive Weather app (download for iOS or Android) helps drivers plan for a safe trip and avoid hazard conditions.

By plugging in the day and your route, Drive Weather tells you the safest time to get on the road and avoid dangerous weather.

SEE: The 5 best weather apps with the most accurate forecast

The National Weather Service provides the app data in easy-to-understand icons that indicate cloud cover, rain, fog, hail, snow, thunderstorm, wind and more.

When you open the app, enter your starting and ending location, time of departure and the day of the week, and then tap Get Drive Weather.

Drive Weather will generate your route, the best time to leave, your estimated time of arrival and the weather you'll encounter along the way.

Green icons mean rain, blue icons with a snowflake mean snow and solid blue icons mean blue skies, for example. Windy areas are indicated by an icon with the wind's mileage inside, ranking in severity from yellow to red.

Drive Weather also includes icons that detail the temperature. Blue circles mean the weather is freezing or below freezing.

The app includes a Time Machine slider bar to anticipate how the weather might change through the day. Time travel through a day to see when you might get a break to start your trip.

Drive Weather can at least help you remember to bring an umbrella. At the most, it can help you avoid an accident by adjusting your trip for bad weather.

Drive Weather usually costs $10 per year, but the developer is running a free trial in celebration of its launch this week.

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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

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Takeaways

  1. Drive Weather tells you the safest time to get on the road to avoid dangerous weather by combining map technology and data from the National Weather Service.
  2. The app translates weather into easy-to-understand icons and shows how the weather will change throughout the day with the Time Machine slider.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.