10 Worst States for Weather-Related Fatal Crashes [2021 Study]

In just one year in the U.S., weather conditions caused an average of 17 fatal crashes for every 1 million drivers. In the 10 worst states for weather-related fatal crashes, these averages are even higher. Our study's worst state for fatal weather crashes was West Virginia, with an average of 45 fatal crashes every 1 million drivers. The most common cause of weather-related crashes is rain, followed by snow and sleet.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • The worst states for weather-related car crashes averaged 30 weather-related fatal crashes per 1 million drivers.
  • In most of the worst states, rain is the main cause of fatal weather-related crashes.
  • The best thing drivers can do to stay safe is to prepare their vehicles for poor weather conditions and practice safe driving habits.

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If you are lucky enough to live in a state with near-perfect weather, then you probably don’t have to worry about snow tires or hydroplaning. But unfortunately for drivers in other states, weather can be a dangerous hazard.

In the worst states for weather-related fatal crashes, drivers need to be prepared for the worst. Snow, rain, heavy winds – all can cause car crashes that result in fatalities. So what are the worst states for fatal car crashes from weather conditions? We ranked the top 10 states that have the highest rate of weather-related fatal crashes.

We also will cover the following topics in our 2021 study of the 10 worst states for fatal crashes from the weather:

  • Dangers of poor weather
  • How to stay safe when driving in poor weather
  • Frequently asked questions

If you are worried about crashing in bad weather, make sure you verify that your auto insurance coverage options cover car crashes from weather conditions. Typically, weather-related crashes will be covered under comprehensive coverage.

Regardless if you live in a state with bad weather or one where the weather is perfect, saving money on car insurance is everyone’s priority. The quickest way to do so is to compare live auto insurance quotes from different companies. Then, you can find the coverages you want that also fit your budget.

Enter your ZIP code into our free online quote comparison tool to do so and start saving on auto insurance today.

Now, ready to see if your state makes the list of the worst states for weather-related fatal crashes?  Read on to find out.

10 Worst States for Weather-Related Fatal Crashes

What state has the most dangerous weather to drive through? To find the 10 worst states for weather-related fatal crashes, our team analyzed our 2017 internal data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on weather-related crashes by the condition.

Combining the totals for rain-related crashes, snow-related crashes, and other-related crashes, our researchers found the rate for each state of fatal weather-related crashes per 1 million registered drivers.

To see what final rates were calculated, take a look at the graphic below.

Worst States for Fatal Crashes due to Weather ConditionsFor a breakdown of each state’s ranking and road safety tips for drivers, keep reading.

#10 – Arkansas

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 23.2
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 56

Arkansas earned the 10th spot, as its rate of fatal crashes in 2017 was 23 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. The majority of crashes occurred from rainfall, as approximately 71 percent of Arkansas’s total weather-related fatal crashes were caused by rain.

According to WorldClimate, Arkansas experiences an average of 48 inches of rainfall a year. This is more rain than other states, as the average U.S. rainfall is about 30 inches annually.

While the snow caused a few crashes in Arkansas, locals should be aware that rain is the most dangerous weather condition they will face when driving around the state.

#9 – Alaska

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 24.5
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 13

Alaska is practically synonymous with winter; snow, sled dogs, and moose usually come to mind when people think of the state of Alaska. Of course, this also means that the road conditions are usually less than ideal.

Unlike other states, where rainfall is the main culprit of crashes, the majority of Alaska’s fatal crashes happened from the snow.

Roughly 76 percent of Alaska’s fatal weather-related car crashes in 2017 were caused by snow.

If you live in Alaska, snow will be your biggest weather driving hazard. Make sure to invest in a good pair of snow tires and drive slowly to avoid other hazards on the road, like wildlife. You should also familiarize yourself with some winter storm and blizzard preparation tips for both being snowed in at home and driving in snow.

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#8 – South Carolina

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 25.5
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 97

South Carolina is another state with frequent rainy days during the wettest month. Rainfall caused 90 percent of the weather-related crashes in South Carolina in 2017.

Why are so many crashes caused by rain in South Carolina? 

South Carolina is one of the states more likely to be hit by tropical storms and hurricanes, which is part of the reason South Carolina has numerous rainy days and rain-related car crashes.

#7 – Montana

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 26.3
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 21

Montana earned the seventh spot on our ranking. With a total of 26 fatalities from weather-related crashes per 1 million drivers, Montana has a high death rate.

Montana’s weather-related fatal crashes were divided almost equally between the three weather conditions: snow caused roughly 38 percent of fatal weather-related crashes, rain caused 33 percent, and other conditions caused 28 percent.

While the majority of snowfall in Montana occurs in the mountain range, this doesn’t mean snowfall in Montana is any less dangerous to drive in.

#6 – Alabama

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 27.1
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 107

Alabama may not get much snow, but it gets plenty of rainfall during the year. According to WorldClimate, Alabama gets about 58 inches of rainfall a year, which is well above average.

Approximately 78 percent of Alamaba’s weather-related fatal crashes in 2017 were caused by rain.

So while you may think beating the summer heat is the only thing you need to worry about in Alabama, frequent rain can be a hazard on the road during the rainy season.

#5 – Oregon

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 27.8
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 81

Oregon earned the fifth spot on our list, with about 28 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers in 2017. As with most states on our list, rainfall was the main culprit of fatal crashes in Oregon.

Rain caused 69 percent of weather-related fatal crashes in Oregon in 2017, while only 16 percent were caused by snow.

Not all areas of Oregon are rainy, but if you live in areas like Portland you can certainly expect to deal with some wet and icy roads throughout the year.

#4 – Wyoming

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 28.6
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 12

Wyoming comes in fourth with a total of almost 29 fatal weather-related crashes in 2017. With so few registered drivers in the state, this is a high number of fatal crashes.

Like Alaska, Wyoming’s snowy climate means that the majority of weather-related crashes in 2017 were caused by snow. Snow caused 58 percent of the weather-related crashes, compared to 33 percent from rainfall.

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#3 – Mississippi

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 30.7
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 63

The state of Mississippi comes in third, which isn’t surprising considering the average rainfall in Mississippi is almost 60 inches a year.

In 2017, 71 percent of the weather-related fatal crashes in Mississippi were caused by rain.

While some areas of Mississippi will be rainier than others, be prepared to be driving on some slick roads.

#2 – Kentucky

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 37.5
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 113

The state of Kentucky came in second on our ranking, as it had over 37 fatal weather-related crashes per 1 million drivers. The majority of its crashes were caused by rain.

Approximately 84 percent of Kentucky’s weather-related crashes were caused by rain.

Kentucky residents won’t have a crazy amount of rainfall in the state, but Kentucky’s average rainfall is higher than average.

#1 – West Virginia

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1M Drivers): 45.6
  • Annual Fatal Crashes Due to Weather Conditions: 52

The state of West Virginia is the worst state for fatal car crashes from weather conditions. It has the highest number of weather-related fatal crashes per million drivers in the U.S. The majority of fatal crashes are caused by rainfall, making West Virginia’s roads dangerously slick and visibility poor. 

Rain caused 84 percent of West Virginia’s weather-related crashes. However, snow and other weather conditions also caused a number of crashes. This means that West Virginia works hard to keep roads clear every year during snowfalls. 

So if you live in West Virginia, make sure you familiarize yourself with the proper way to drive in inclement weather conditions and have a car with decent tires. You should also make sure you have good West Virginia auto insurance in case you do get into an accident because of the weather.

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Dangers of Driving in Bad Weather

So what are the possible risks of driving in inclement weather conditions? Below, you can see some of the main types of bad weather and how they contribute to fatal crashes on roadways.

Weather Conditions & Resulting Driving Hazards

While driving on dusty roads may not seem as dangerous as driving during sleet or rain, loss of visibility is always dangerous. Most drivers think of losing control of their vehicle when they think of weather-related accidents, but weather can also limit visibility and make it harder to see hazards on the road.

Whether that hazard is a deer or a rut on the side of the road, limited visibility can be extremely dangerous.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that annually there are about 5,000 fatalities and 418,000 injuries from weather-related crashes. 

So what type of weather causes the most crashes? The answer is rain. While snow and sleet only happen a few months out of the year, rain is a year-round event, especially if you live in a rainy state.

Below, you can see exactly how many weather-related crashes happened in 2017 in the U.S.

Fatal Car Crashes Due to Weather Conditions

Because these numbers reflect the number of crashes that resulted in at least one fatality, bear in mind that the number of fatalities is likely even worse than the numbers shown above if there was more than one person in the car.

So what can you do to make sure you aren’t one of the fatalities above? Read on to see what advice we have for driving in bad weather.

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Tips for Driving Safely on Compromised Roads

Driving in poor weather conditions isn’t a natural skill. Drivers need to be prepared with tips and tricks beforehand, as well as making sure their vehicles are prepped for inclement weather.

We’ve collected advice from experts around the world on the subject, from lawyers with years of experience dealing with personal injury claims from weather-related crashes to outdoor exploration experts. Stick with us to see what the experts have to say.

Experts around the world

“Driving in poor weather conditions often result in some of the deadliest auto accidents.

As personal injury lawyers based outside of Philadelphia, PA we have seen firsthand how a slick roadway or other difficult weather conditions contributed to serious accidents resulting in severe injury and sometimes even death.

Living and driving in the Northeast part of the United States, you get your fill of poor weather conditions throughout the year, but especially in the winter months.

Staying off the road is the best way to stay safe when there is poor weather, but that is not always a choice a person can make, so being well prepared for this difficult type of driving is the next best thing.

The best thing you can do in poor weather conditions is slow down, we cannot stress this enough, slowing down allows a driver a better chance to react when things get difficult while driving.

Other important factors are keeping your vehicle in good working condition, including, making sure you have window wiper fluid, good windshield wipers, tires in good condition, etc.

Being prepared to drive in poor conditions if needed can be the difference between life and death.”

Ted Kaplun Headshot

Ted Kaplun is a personal injury lawyer and founding partner at KaplunMarx.
He has extensive experience helping clients injured in weather-related auto accidents.


What practical car maintenance steps should drivers take to prepare their vehicles for inclement weather?

“Although vehicles today are more technologically advanced under the hood, the mechanical components still need high-quality and consistent lubrication.

One of the best things you can do to prepare your car for inclement weather is to keep up on oil changes. Synthetic oils provide better protection for your engine as the weather changes.

In general, synthetic oils are cleaner, less prone to breaking down, and include additives that boost engine performance and clear out the ‘sludge’ and other deposits. According to a study from AAA in 2017, synthetic oils perform nearly 50 percent better on average.

Tires are essential if you live in an area where winters can be harsh. Research from AAA finds that even driving on relatively worn tires at highway speeds and on wet surfaces can increase stopping distances by nearly 90 feet.

When it rains and snows, tires are your first line of defense, especially if you have to stop suddenly. Get in the habit of checking your tires regularly, either at home with the penny test or by talking with a trusted mechanic during your regular oil change.

When the weather gets bad, your visibility is critical. Changing your wiper blades is one of the least expensive, yet most important steps you can take to prepare for inclement weather.

If you cannot remember the last time you changed your wipers, now is a good time to replace them.”

What advice do you have for drivers driving in poor weather?

“According to law enforcement agencies and other authorities on the topic, there are three root causes in nearly every crash: speed, distraction, and intoxication.

Assuming you have done all you can to keep your car in good working condition, you want to make sure that you yourself are in good working order. For example, driving while tired is just as bad as while under the influence. Put your phone away so you are 100 percent focused on the road.

When the weather is bad, driving slower is your best course of action. The faster you are going, the less time you have to react and the longer it will take you to stop. If your car starts to hydroplane, you are more likely to regain control if you drive at a reasonable speed.

Even if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, resist the urge to drive faster. While 4×4 is a tremendous advantage in the snow, it cannot prevent you from sliding out of control if you are moving too fast.

The best advice is to never ‘overdrive’ your vehicle. You don’t want your vehicle, in any situation, going faster than your mind can think.”

In your opinion, what type of weather condition is the most dangerous to drive through?

“To be honest here, I think the most dangerous conditions are clear and sunny days.

During a rainstorm or a blizzard, the average person will be more focused on driving as carefully as possible. Contrast that with a clear summer day, and a false sense of security can arise for drivers because visibility is good.

There is a greater temptation now to speed or drive in a more relaxed fashion because it’s not raining or snowing; a driver may inadvertently reason that they do not need to be as careful. We have seen something similar happen with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite fewer cars on the road with quarantines, fatal traffic accidents continued to climb at an unprecedented rate.

My analysis is that drivers are more tempted to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel now that roads are less busy.

Lastly, there is an old expression that goes ‘most accidents happen close to home.’ I believe there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the roads closest to home are the most familiar, and thus, we tend to let our guard down.”

What types of vehicles do best in the snow or in rain? Are there certain types of vehicles drivers should never purchase if they live in a snowy or rainy state?

“While rear-wheel-drive sports cars can be fun to drive, they are probably not the best year-round choice if you live in a snowy state.

All-wheel drive can be a good option for buyers because modern systems are intuitive and ‘do the work’ for you. Drivers don’t have to worry about shifting into any specific mode or gear – they can simply drive and let the system operate accordingly.

In rain and snow, all-wheel-drive systems send power to the wheels with the most traction, but that happens automatically with no specific input needed from the driver.

I think the best vehicle for the snow or rain is the one you feel most comfortable driving, versus one specific vehicle.

While conventional logic says a 4×4 truck or SUV will do better in the snow, if a person feels anxious driving a larger vehicle, its benefits are moot.

If that same person is less nervous driving a traditional front-wheel-drive sedan, then that is probably the better vehicle for them in the long run.”

Have you ever crashed because of poor weather conditions?

“Yes. I was in a single-vehicle rollover accident in January 2008 on I-35 in Minnesota.

I was mostly uninjured and walked away, although the sheriff’s deputy who responded to the call said I was lucky. I was driving too fast while it was snowing early one morning. It was my fault, and I was lucky nobody else was involved.

That event changed how I drive today and made me an advocate for safe driving in both my personal and professional life.”

Carl Anthony Headshot

Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog.
He hosts several global conferences on autonomous driving.


“Over the course of ten years, 70% of all weather-related car crashes happen on wet pavement, and 46% during rainfall.

Even more than winter related or fog-related crashes, wet driving surfaces are extremely dangerous, and driving under those conditions should be done only when necessary, and with the utmost care.

Drivers should understand the mechanics of driving in inclement conditions; driving at a higher rate of speed will require longer distances to stop safely and attempting to ‘slam on the brakes’ will lead to spin-outs and out-of-control vehicles.

Drivers should learn to recognize the warning signs of hydroplaning; where the car’s tires leave the road entirely and are literally riding on the layer of water on top of the road. This removes all control of the car’s direction, and is not only terrifying but can also be deadly.

Above all, understand that hydroplaning is most likely to occur when traveling at speeds higher than 35 miles per hour, and that under no circumstances should cruise control ever be used in the rain, or on wet surfaces.

Beware of puddles and standing water when moving at any decent rate of speed, since hydroplaning can occur regardless of how careful the driver is trying to be.

Driving safely during rainy conditions is a matter of preparation. Know what weather conditions are before leaving home, and if possible, avoid driving long distances during wet conditions.

Make sure one’s car is equipped with high-quality tires that have good tread, are rotated and balanced, and that is designed to be resistant to hydroplaning.”

Darryl Smith headshot

Darryl Smith is a founding partner of the Florida Car Accident Lawyer Team.
He fights on high-profile personal injury cases on behalf of several Fortune 500 companies.


“To ensure your vehicle is ready for a winter storm, check the tires. Your tires should not only have ample tread for traction but also properly inflated. Low-pressure tires can be especially dangerous on icy winter roads.

You should also check your oil and antifreeze levels. Extreme cold can cause issues in any of your vehicle’s components, so routine maintenance and upkeep become even more important in the winter months.

For example, the capacity of your battery will be lowered in cold weather. An older battery or one with a slightly corroded connection might work fine in the warm summer months and fail in the bitter cold.

To ensure you don’t get stranded, make sure your battery is in good shape and properly installed.

If you do get stranded, it can help to have a few emergency supplies inside your car. A few bottles of water, a blanket, flashlight, and radio are just a few items that people commonly stock in their emergency kit. Pocket hand warmers can also come in handy if you find yourself stranded for an extended period of time.

If you find yourself stuck in tall snow, spinning your tires out can make the situation worse.

It’s better to move forward as much as you can and then reverse as far as you can and repeat. This rocking motion will help you carve out enough space to gain some traction in the snow – it might take a while, but be patient. Frustrated drivers who lay on the gas in frustration are only digging themselves in deeper.”

Jake McKenzie

Jake McKenzie is a Content Manager for Auto Accessories Garage.
This family-owned business sells automotive parts and accessories.


“We are all about getting outside, active recreation, and the outdoors in the North Country.

Our team has extensive first-hand experience in the places we write about, ranging from the Badlands of the Dakotas to the Northwoods of the Great Lakes Region, to the bucolic villages of New England.

We also cover how-to guides for people who want to get outside, and gear reviews as well. As you can imagine, driving on winter roads is a fact of life in the North Country. I added a few ideas below.”

What practical car maintenance steps should drivers take to prepare their vehicles for inclement weather?

“Having good tires is key… and they should be all-weather or snow tires. Be sure the anti-lock brakes are working properly. They are important when trying to stop on ice.”

What advice do you have for drivers driving in poor weather?

“Slow down! Even your big, tough 4×4 is not going to be able to stop fast enough when you hit an icy patch.

Ever notice that all the cars in the ditch on a winter storm day are the all-wheel-drive SUVs? It is imperative that you especially slow down well in advance for stop signs, stoplights, and curves.

People run stop signs or miss curves all the time because they can’t brake on ice.”

In your opinion, what type of weather condition is the most dangerous to drive through?

“Icy roads, or roads with packed snow, are always bad. You just don’t have traction and stopping ability.

It doesn’t matter if you have the most advanced all-wheel-drive vehicle – your tires still cannot grip the road in the same way, and this causes problems. And blowing snow can really affect visibility. It can come in gusts. One moment, you can see, and the next moment, it is a whiteout.”

What types of vehicles do best in the snow?

“The best snow vehicles tend to be all-wheel-drive (AWD) or front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars and SUVs. But having the right kind of drivetrain is not the only factor.

It is important that your vehicle has weight above the wheels, so rear-wheel-drive cars are not good.

That is why front-wheel drive vehicles tend to be so effective in the snow because even though they are only two-wheel drive, they have the engine right above the power wheels, which gives them much better traction in snow.”

Are there certain types of vehicles drivers should never purchase if they live in a snowy or rainy state?

“Don’t buy that rear-wheel-drive sports car for a snowy environment, or if you do, stick it in the shed from December to March.

A rear-wheel-drive car – especially one with a heavy front-end like a sports car or 2WD truck, have almost no traction on a slick road.”

Paul Johnson Headshot

Paul Johnson is the founder of NorthOutdoors.
His site focused on outdoor exploration, provides extensive travel guides.


“As a personal injury lawyer who specializes in helping people who have been in serious car accidents, I can’t overstate the importance of driving safely in inclement weather conditions.

This time of year in Central Illinois, the biggest weather concern is, of course, winter weather.

The good news is that there are several steps you can take to significantly minimize your risk of an accident if you live somewhere that sees ice and snow in the wintertime.

To start with, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. (Even if it means waking up early!)

Not only should you expect to drive more slowly if visibility and road conditions are poor, but you should also factor in the time it may take to scrape ice and snow from your vehicle windows and windshield.

Be sure that your headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, and wiper nozzle are clear as well.

Drivers are often told to exercise caution when passing other vehicles during snow and ice storms, but particular care should be taken in passing snowplows. Do so only if absolutely necessary.

The road ahead of the snowplow is usually worse than the stretch of road behind it, and the ‘wings’ of many plows can throw up a cloud of snow that makes it hard to see the roadway and other vehicles that may be in the vicinity.

If you are driving behind a snowplow, be sure to maintain a safe following distance.

Finally, you should always make sure to have an emergency winter kit in your vehicle in case your vehicle becomes disabled. Items to include are food, water, emergency medication, jumper cables, and warm clothing for you and any passengers.”

Josh Rohrscheib Headshot

Josh Rohrscheib is the founder of Josh Rohrscheib, Attorney at Law.
He has years of experience defending drivers injured due to poor weather conditions.


“My fiancee grew up in Aomori, which has the highest amount of snowfall in Japan. I’ve driven in Aomori multiple times when visiting her family. I have the perspective and experience from both a beginner and veteran driving in dangerous conditions.”

What practical car maintenance steps should drivers take to prepare their vehicles for inclement weather?

“When preparing to drive in snowy areas, it’s absolutely necessary to change your tires to snow tires. Snow chains are not as common because they damage both the car and the road, and you can only drive at very low speeds.

Most people remember to change their tires, but it’s important to change your windshield wipers and washer fluid as well.

Winter windshield wiper blades are made with a stronger type of rubber, so they can wipe away snow and ice, which normal wipers are unable to do. You also need to replace your washer fluid with an antifreeze type because it can freeze up and potentially damage your pump motor.

Lastly, it’s good to have a shovel and snow brush in your trunk for when it snows while your car is parked.”

What advice do you have for drivers driving in poor weather?

“For those driving in snow conditions, you should never make sudden movements, such as sudden braking, accelerating, and turning the wheel.

When you make sudden movements, your car might skid and you lose control of your vehicle’s direction.

You should always drive slowly, come to gradual stops, and never tailgate the car in front.”

In your opinion, what type of weather condition is the most dangerous to drive through?

“One of the most unexpectedly dangerous weather conditions to drive in is clear days after it snows because the snow melts once and becomes ice on the pavements.

When snow is piled up on the street, drivers usually stay alert and drive carefully, but when it’s less apparent, drivers tend to loosen up and there are many car crashes as a result.”

What types of vehicles do best in the snow or in the rain? Are there certain types of vehicles drivers should never purchase if they live in a snowy or rainy state?

“In snowy states, we don’t recommend a lower vehicle because you won’t even be able to move your car if it snows. The best type of vehicle for snowy areas are AWD (all-wheel drives). Even better if it’s an SUV.

SUVs are very sturdy and having an AWD gives the vehicle enough power to get out of deep snow.”

Have you ever crashed because of poor weather conditions? What happened?

“I have never crashed, even when driving in heavy snowstorms since I was fortunate enough to have a veteran guide me through.”

Danny Kang Headshot

Danny Kang writes for his site, Kuma Station.
He creates travel guides on the several countries he’s visited.


“The pressure is on: You must be at that sales meeting in 10 minutes. Or you are dropping the kids off at school – who knows when that’s happening again? Maybe you are getting the new vaccine in 5 minutes at the doctor’s office. *applause*

But you step outside, and you realize just how cold it actually is! The car is frozen, and all windows are frosted up. It’s a nightmare scenario we all have experienced and the clock is ticking.

Not only is it vital that your car is ready to drive but the way we drive in icy conditions should be different too. Plus, the journey will take longer in order to maintain safety.

The contact point of tires on the road is only the size of your hand. That’s all.

So tire tread depth, pressure, and condition of tires must be good. Tires range enormously in price, and you do tend to get what you pay for.

Unless you find yourself in extreme weather conditions, seasonal tires (known as winter tires) may not be a necessity.

When drivers have accidents in poor weather conditions, it can be caused by poor maintenance of the car. The root cause of the loss of control often relates to not properly adapting to the driving conditions, which is where human behaviors can let us down.

Always remember, that driving in an unfamiliar vehicle such as a company car brings challenges. Knowing where all the essential controls are, how the vehicle handles, and the power available.

A key element of safe driving is to err on the side of caution, what is known as ‘defensive driving’ is a must for all-weather driving.”

Tom Ingram Headshot

Tom Ingram is the owner of BIG TOM Driving School.
He teaches an intensive driving course for beginning and advanced drivers.


Frequently Asked Questions: Bad Weather and Dangerous Times to Drive

If you still have questions about poor weather and driving, read on. We will cover the answers to a number of frequently asked questions about weather-related accidents.

In this section, we’ll cover the worst or most dangerous weather to drive in, the most dangerous driving conditions by weather, winter driving, the worst states for winter driving, fatal weather events, and fatal accidents caused by weather.

Scroll down more information about these topics and frequently asked questions.

#1 – What is the worst kind of snow to drive through?

One of the worst kinds of snow to drive through is a blizzard or blizzard-type snowfall. Not only do blizzards make the roads slippy and cause tires to lose traction, but the heavy snowfall also obstructs drivers’ vision, making it harder to see road hazards.

#2 – What are the best states for snow removal?

The states that are best for snow removal will be the states that have frequent snowfall and are therefore equipped to deal with snow. States that rarely see snow will not have the necessary machinery and manpower to clear roads quickly.

Based on this, some of the states that are best for snow removal will be states that deal with snow removal frequently and have high spending budgets for winter maintenance. So you can expect to see states like Pennsylvania or Michigan topping the list for best snow removal.

#3 – Why is it a good idea to drive behind other cars in snowy conditions?

Following other cars in snowy conditions allows you to see how fast other cars are driving and how they are faring on the roads. However, following closely behind other cars or driving in their tire tracks is a bad idea.

You need to lengthen the distance between you and other vehicles in case you lose control, and driving in others’ tire tracks is actually slippier than driving in fresh snow.

So while following other vehicles can give you a heads up if a road is dangerous, following too closely can be a recipe for disaster.

#4 – What states have no snow?

Any state that is warm year-round won’t have snowfall. Some examples of states with no snow, or very rare snowfalls, are Florida, Hawaii, parts of Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and California.

#5 –What state gets the worst snow?

Which three locations are the most dangerous during winter driving? In 2020, Vermont had the most snowfall on record. Some of the other states with the worst winter roads in America are states like Maine, New Hampshire, and Alaska. These states have some of the highest snowfalls on record.

#6 – What is the number-one cause of winter accidents?

Winter driving statistics show that the number-one cause of winter accidents is slippery roads, caused by either snow, sleet, or rain. Slippery roads make it easier for drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash.

#7 – When driving in wet weather, what should you do?

If you are driving in rain, it is important you slow down. If you lose traction, driving slower will give you a better chance of regaining control of your vehicle. 

You should also make sure you are putting a greater distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, just in case either of you loses control. Make sure your windshield wipers are also clearing the rain away effectively so that you have a clear view out of your windshield.  It is also important that you have a good car for driving in the rain, as having one of the worst cars to drive in the rain (sports cars, etc.) will increase your chances of crashing. 

#8 – How does fog affect driving?

Fog is one of the most dangerous conditions to drive in, as it can limit visibility even more than rain or snow. Dense fog can make it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of your vehicle. if you find yourself in a fog that severely limits your visibility, the best thing to do is to pull over and wait it out. 

If the fog isn’t too dense, make sure to turn on your low-beam headlights, drive slowly, and leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles. 

#9 – What wind speed should you not drive?

Driving in high winds can be dangerous, as some winds are strong enough to push vehicles off the road or tumble debris around the road. The National Weather Service says that if winds are above 40 mph, drivers should try to stay off the roads if at all possible.

Even winds of 30 mph can make driving dangerous, and drivers should proceed with caution or avoid driving until the winds die down. 

#10 – What is the most dangerous time to drive?

The most dangerous times to drive are in the evening and early morning when visibility is limited, there is more commuter traffic on the roads, and wildlife is more active. 

#11 – What state has the worst winter drivers?

Michigan has the worst winter drivers according to some reports, totaling the most traffic deaths related to winter weather during study periods. Pennsylvania and New York also have a high number of traffic deaths due to winter weather some years.

#12 – What is the number one cause of winter accidents?

Icy roads are one of the major causes of winter accidents. Icy roads cause a lack of traction between a vehicle’s tires and the road, creating a slippery effect, where it is easy to lose control of the vehicle. For that reason, vehicles can tailspin. Icy roads also make it more difficult to stop, which creates a higher probability for rear-end collisions.

#13 – What are the top three risk factors for fatal crashes?

Drunk driving and speeding are generally at the top of the list every year for factors relating to fatal crashes. If a driver is impaired, they can’t operate their car properly, which results in fatal crashes. Speeding creates risk and makes split-second decision-making incredibly important. One mistake and a fatal crash might occur.

The third factor, and one that has been rising in recent years, is distracted driving. When people are talking on their cell phones, texting, or engaged in any other task while driving, they are not completely focused on the road, which can lead to traffic deaths.

#14 – What weather causes the most car accidents?

According to studies, rainfall is associated with the most car accidents. This may be because rainfall is the most common weather event, much more so than snowfall, for instance. However, the most dangerous weather condition is fog. If you are involved in an accident involving fog, there’s more than a 1% likelihood that you or the other driver will die. That likelihood is much higher than for other weather events.

#15 – How many fatal crashes occur after dark?

Almost half of all fatal crashes occur after dark, with the most deadly time period being after midnight to about 2 am. The reasons are numerous: lack of visibility, tired drivers, drunk drivers, drivers speeding, and more

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Methodology: State Ranking by Weather-Related Traffic Accidents

To find the 10 worst states for weather-related fatal crashes, our team of researchers analyzed our internal 2017 data collection from the NHTSA. The three major crash factors that our researchers examined were snow/sleet, rain, and “other” weather conditions.

Other weather conditions can include a wide range of risky driving conditions, such as high winds, dust, and fog.

Eliminating data for crashes in normal weather, our team took the combined totals for the three poor weather crash conditions for each state. To take into consideration the population of each state (states with large populations will naturally always have more crashes), our team pulled FHWA data on registered drivers by state.

Calculating the rate of poor weather condition crashes per 1 million registered drivers in each state allowed for a more accurate ranking of the 10 worst states for fatal weather crashes.

As expected, some of the worst states for winter driving made our list, such as Alaska. However, a number of rainy states were also prominent in our rankings, as rainfall causes more crashes than snow or sleet every year.

As states can’t change their weather, it can be safely assumed that the 10 states on our list will continue to see high numbers of fatal crashes from the weather. So if you live in one of these states, drive carefully when there is inclement weather.

There are almost no states that don’t see inclement weather and, as we’ve seen, dangerous weather conditions can cause fatal crashes which drive up auto insurance rates.

To combat this and save as much money as you can on auto insurance, the quickest and best way is to compare quotes from different companies. Plug your ZIP code into our free online quote generator to do just that and find the best coverages that meet your insurance needs and budget.

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