Winter weather brings many impacts to our roadways each year, often resulting in many vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The information provided here is to help prepare you and your loved ones for the road ahead during the winter season.
According to the United States Federal Highway Administration, 29% of weather-related crashes, and 20% of weather-related fatalities occur on roads covered with snow, slush, or ice. Each year, over 1,300 people are killed, and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle accidents that occur on snow, slush, or ice-covered roads.
Many of these accidents are caused by “Sneaky Winter Road Hazards.”
Each year, 15% of vehicle accidents occur during snowfall or sleet. During these accidents, nearly 900 people are killed, and nearly 76,000 people are injured.
Winter weather caused major increases to road maintenance costs. The Federal Highway Administration states that winter road maintenance accounts for roughly 20% of state DOT maintenance budgets. Both state and local agencies can spend more than $2.3 billion per year on snow and ice control operations. When snow plows are out clearing our roads, be sure to leave them plenty of space!
According to Tobin et all. 2022, approximately two-thirds (67%) of winter-weather-related fatalities occur on highways. The odds of a fatal crash occurring on a highway during winter-weather conditions is statistically significantly greater than those during nonadverse conditions.
Furthermore, nearly one-half (49%) of all winter-weather-related fatalities across the CONUS involve only a single vehicle. A slightly smaller fraction of fatalities (44%) involves two vehicles, and <8% of fatalities involve three or more vehicles.
More than one-half (56%) of winter-weather-related fatalities involve speeding, meaning that at least one driver involved in the crash was driving above the posted speed limit, or driving too fast for the conditions, as indicated by law enforcement (NHTSA 2022).
The statistics above are enough to conclude that winter driving is hazardous. Slow down to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe. Remember, “Ice and snow, take it slow”.