Driving in snowy or icy conditions can be incredibly dangerous, as nearly 40 percent of weather-related crashes happen in these conditions.
Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of U.S. roads are in areas that see more than five inches of snow each year. That may be one of the reasons why 100,000 people get injured and 1,300 are killed in crashes on icy or snowy roads each year.
While snowy or icy conditions are dangerous no matter where you are, some states are more dangerous than others.
Personal finance website MoneyGeek.com studied federal data to rank the 10 most dangerous states for winter driving. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania made the list at number five, below Ohio, Wyoming, Alaska and Michigan.
MoneyGeek looked at data from 2017 to 2019 in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
All 50 states were given a winter danger score – the higher the danger score, the higher the state’s ranking. The score was based on total fatalities in winter driving conditions, fatality rate (adjusted for number of vehicle miles traveled in the state) and each state’s score on MoneyGeek’s rankings of states that have the safest drivers.
Pennsylvania had 86 fatalities in the years of data MoneyGeek reviewed along with a winter driving fatality rate of 0.28 – this is the same rate as Ohio. Pennsylvania’s final winter danger score is 61, while Michigan’s is 100. Michigan was ranked number one on this list.
Safety Tips for Winter Driving
MoneyGeek also provided several tips on preparing your vehicle for winter driving to help you stay safe.
- Get your car serviced to make sure there are no leaks or worn hoses and your brakes, defroster, heater and lights work as they should.
- Make sure your batter is in good shape. If it is more than three years old, it is time to replace it.
- Refill your windshield wiper fluid.
- Check the treads on your tires – the more tread the better when driving in winter.
- Keep some essential items in your car, such as: ice scraper, flashlight, jumper cables, snow shovel, spare tire and a phone charger.
While preparation is important, you also need to be a defensive driver in winter weather conditions. For example, make sure not to speed or follow other vehicles too closely. You usually want three seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, but in snowy or icy conditions, increase that to five or six seconds.
Avoid stopping unless you need to and if you start to skid, avoid panicking. Do not hit the brakes because that will make things worse. Turn your wheel in the direction the back of the vehicle is sliding and avoid overcorrecting.
Injured in a Car Crash? Call Schmidt Kramer for Legal Help
Winter weather crashes can result in devastating injuries. Unfortunately, insurance companies routinely deny and devalue claims, no matter how severe the injuries.
Victims should strongly consider hiring a Harrisburg vehicle accident attorney to help them seek full compensation for their damages. Schmidt Kramer has been helping crash victims for decades and has recovered millions on their behalf.
Schmidt Kramer. No upfront fees or obligations. Call (717) 727-2669.