10 Worst States for Winter Driving Deaths

With winter weather on the horizon, now is the time to analyze your safety risk and take the steps you can to maximize your ability to control your vehicle on wintry roads.

Clearsurance.com recently released a report on the states with the most fatal winter crashes. In their report, they shared a map of the U.S. displaying which states had the highest and lowest risk of winter crashes. 

Winter Weather Fatal Crashes by State

When you see the map, it’s easy to figure out why some states have a low risk of winter weather crashes because they’re in the southern U.S., where snow rarely falls. 

Most of the states in this list have low population density, so people often have to drive a long way to get to their destination, and more time on the road means more time for something to go wrong, especially in winter weather.

  1. Wyoming
  2. North Dakota
  3. Nebraska
  4. Vermont
  5. Alaska
  6. Montana
  7. Maine
  8. Iowa
  9. South Dakota
  10. Michigan

Another factor that increases crash risk is that some of the major holidays associated with travel fall during the winter months.

Fatal Crashes in Snow and Sleet

While several adverse weather conditions can contribute to crashes, snow and sleet are some of the worst for driving.

  • Average crashes from snow and sleet – 4.3 per 1M drivers
  • Total fatal crashes from snow and sleet in 2021 – 512
  • Percentage of weather-related crashes from snow and sleet – 13.7%

Rain is the only weather condition that contributes to more collisions than snow and sleet, and that’s because rain falls in all the states, while snow and sleet mainly occur in northern states. So, there are more rain days across the country than snow days.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Clearsurance.com shares a few excellent tips to help you maximize your safety if you are concerned about your risks on winter roads.

Plan Ahead for Getting Stuck in Bad Weather

Packing a first aid kit, blankets, an extra coat, hat, and gloves can help keep you safe and warm if you become stranded on winter roads.

You should also ensure your phone is charged before leaving home in the winter. That way, you can call for help and keep in contact with friends and family while you wait for help to arrive. 

Choose Your Route Carefully in the Winter

You might take back roads to get to your destination during the summer. During the winter, though, if there’s the potential for snow and ice, stick to main arterial routes that are maintained regularly.

Even if the backroads are more direct, your trip could be longer and more dangerous because they may not be plowed, and they could be slippery.

Maximize Your Traction on Slippery Roads

The lack of traction is one of the things that make slippery roads so dangerous. If you don’t have traction, you’ll have a hard time stopping or starting.

Additionally, you’ll be at significant risk of sliding off the road. So, to help you maintain traction, Clearsurance.com recommends gentle accelerations and early braking to give you room to stop.

Tires designed for snow can help you maintain control when summer tires slide. Four-season tires are designed and tested on winter roads, unlike all-season tires, which are essentially summer tires. So, if you don’t want to switch back and forth from winter to summer tires, you should consider getting four-season tires.

If you don’t mind switching your tires twice a year, winter tires can help improve your safety while driving on slick roads. 

Careful Driving is Safe Driving

If you live in one of the top 10 worst states for winter driving, you’ll want to be extra careful this winter. But anyone who lives in a cool climate should follow winter driving safety tips and be cautious when the temperature drops below freezing.

Read Clearsurance.com’s entire report here: 10 States with the Most Fatal Winter Crashes [2021 Study]

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