The winter weather might be deadly. It’s a major issue when snow and ice cause traffic jams, automobile collisions, and fatalities on the road. We’ve all been told to exercise extreme caution when the roads in our area become icy in the winter.
It’s the time when every driver navigates at least ten below the speed limit and carries salt and snow brushes in the back seat. In case they get iced over while parked.
Of course, car crashes in the winter aren’t always avoidable and without the injuries and even deaths. This post serves as your tell-all guide to the winter car crash stats, where they mostly occur, and how to avoid them to the best of your ability.
Why Snowy And Icey Roads Are a Big Deal
Every year, governments spend over $2 billion on road maintenance in the winter when they experience ice and snow. To further illustrate the size and scope of roads during the winter, 70% of all roads in the United States will experience at least five inches of snow in a year. At the same time, over a thousand deaths occur due to icy roads several more injuries, and property damage. Let’s look at some other hard facts about winter car crashes.
Snowy And Icey Roads in Wyoming Are The Worst in Winter
In some parts of the United States, it doesn’t snow much or at all. Those states that do experience heavy snowfall are those within mountain ranges. Wyoming goes on record as the state with the most deaths due to winter roads.
For every millionth registered driver in the country, there are 34 fatalities. When considering the population, that is a lot. The mountainous roads don’t help a lot, so drivers have to be extra careful.
Six States With no Winter Car Crash Deaths
Inversely, there are states that experience no fatalities due to winter conditions on roads even though one experiences snowfall. Naturally, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, and Oklahoma remain fatality-free due to their climate. Rhode Island experiences up to 55 inches of snow annually in some parts. Safe and slow driving is key, and Rhode Island proves it.
Snow And Ice is The Fourth Deadliest Weather Condition
Behind such hazards as wet roads, heavy rainfall, and snow, ice ranks as the fourth-deadliest weather condition to drive in and makes up 13% of accidents caused by climate.
Winter Roads Slow Down Vehicles
As mentioned before, when winter rears its head, traffic tends to go much slower. Drivers reduce their speed to have more control should they slip or spin-out. Winter roads, at the same time, do some slowing of their own as well and reduce traction. Stats show that traffic speeds are reduced up to 17%.
State Governments Have a Portion of Their Budget For Winter Road Work
Up to 25% of a state’s budget can go directly to road upkeep in the winter. Snowplows, salting services, and more help make the roads safer no matter how many snowfalls. At the same time, the federal government also spends over $2 billion a year for road work during the winter.
Every Year, Fatal Crashes Occur
This already goes without saying, but let’s look at specific stats regarding the deaths that winter road conditions can cause. Firstly, there are four fatal crashes for every one million drivers in the United States, with around 688 people killed because of winter road conditions.
Meanwhile, 55,000 people are injured in the same year. These numbers add up when you think about how snow and icy roads are one of the most common ways a car accident and fatalities can happen.
Hours Are Lost Because of Winter Road Conditions
On a more minor note than losing lives, plenty of hours is lost because of traffic delays caused by winter road conditions. To be specific, about 544 million hours are collectively caused around the country because of icy roads as drivers reduce their speeds. Sometimes traffic comes to a stop altogether.
Because of this, drivers need to make sure they don’t freeze in their cars if their air conditioning fails. Of all the bad weather, snow causes the most traffic and travel delays. Speeds are shown to decrease by 40%.
The Worst States For Winter Car Accidents is The Midwest
Because of the Midwestern states’ flat terrain and winter climate, they experience the most snowfall and thus are the worst states for fatal car accidents during the winter. This is especially the case for the northernmost states like the Dakotas, Michigan, and Iowa.
Other Worst States Include Maine And Vermont
Moving over to the Northeast, up to 124 inches of snow make landfall in Maine and Vermont, which make them especially perilous to drive in the winter. They aren’t flat like the Midwest and go through mountains, so there is even more of a chance of an accident occurring.
Best States For Winter Road Conditions Are in The South
As you have noticed, the states that don’t encounter many winter road conditions are those in the South. States like Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Oklahoma show little to no traffic deaths and injuries due to snow and ice on the road.
Driving Safely in Winter Conditions
After all that doom and gloom, here are ways that you can be a safer driver when winter rears its head in your state. Of course, having a car with snow tires and four-wheel drive always helps. But whether or not you do have such tires, here are more ways to exercise caution while navigating snowy and icy roads.
Keep Tires Inflated
Regardless of the type of tires you have, you should always keep them inflated during the winter. The less air your tires have, then the less traction they will have on ice or sleet.
Drive Below The Speed Limit
Everyone will noticeably be doing this. The speed limits are unspokenly lowered during the winter when the snow covers the road as drivers need more reaction time should their cars slide or skid.
Tailgating is much less forgiving in the winter with icy roads. Because of this, people double the car space they drive between other drivers. The space between you and the driver in front of you should fit at least two more cars.
Keep Winter Gear in Your Car
This includes snow brushes, tire chains, and something like a warming blanket should your car not provide enough heating. The right tools can help you get out of even the harshest conditions. Look at pages on how to put together winter safety kits for the best and most reliable ones.
Enroll in a Winter Driving Course
Taken similarly to defensive driving classes, winter driving courses can teach you the best practices for driving when the road is at its worst. Your car insurance provider may even cut you a break on your rates if you do so.
Maintain Windshield Wipers
Your windshield wipers will be harder at work once snowfall comes to town, so you want to double-check and make sure they don’t wear themselves down too quickly. The last thing you want is to be caught up in a snowstorm with dull wipers.
Practice if You Are Inexperienced
The best places for new winter drivers to get a feel for driving in such conditions are parking lots. The ones with untrampled snow particularly are the best as new drivers can experience how it affects their driving in a controlled environment.
Don’t Drive if You Feel it is Too Dangerous
Above all, don’t be reckless or brash with your decision-making while driving. If this includes weighing the option of driving in a blizzard in the first place, then you are probably best not to get behind the wheel until it clears up. There is a lot in your hands as a driver to prevent wintertime car accidents by being smart and logical.
Have a few bumps in the road on your driving record? No worries, Insurance Navy takes on drivers of all risk levels to get them the coverage they need. Get a free auto insurance quote online or phone us at 888-949-6289 to speak with an insurance expert.