Do Car Accidents Increase in the Winter Months?
Winter road conditions, such as icy or snowy roads, can make driving safely difficult. A car accident lawyer can help recover compensation for injuries and property damage for those involved in car accidents anytime of the year.
Because of poor road conditions, it’s common to think that car accidents are more likely during the winter. So do car accidents increase in the winter months? Salt Lake City and Provo, UT, attorney Lynn C. Harris has a surprising answer.
Are Car Accidents More Common in the Winter?
Roads covered with ice or snow and poor visibility due to winter weather would make it seem that more car accidents would happen during the winter months. Surprisingly, that’s not the case.
Although winter roads can be hazardous, more car accidents actually happen during the summer. To put this into perspective, let’s consider these 2019 car accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Summer fatal accidents: June, July, and August had a combined fatality rate of 9,025
- Winter fatal accidents: December, January, and February had nearly 2,000 fewer fatalities with a total of 7,338
- Summer injury only accidents: June, July, and August saw approximately 483,283 accidents with injuries
- Winter injury only accidents: December, January, and February had an estimated 444,791 car accidents with injuries, which is nearly 40,000 fewer injury only accidents than during the summer months
As the statistics show, there are nearly 40,000 more accidents with injuries and nearly 2,000 more fatal accidents in the summer than the winter. From these numbers it is clear that the number of car accidents does not increase during the winter months.
Why Are There Less Car Accidents in Winter than Summer?
Here are a few reasons why there are more car accidents in the summer than the winter months:
- More teen drivers, who lack experience behind the wheel, are on the road during the summer than in the winter
- Driving under the influence is more likely during the summer when people tend to drink alcohol at barbecues and other get togethers
- More people tend to be on the road during the summer months, and drivers may be prone to aggressive behavior due to traffic congestion
- People are more likely to avoid unnecessary driving when it’s snowing or the roads are icy, helping to reduce accidents during the winter months
Take Winter Driving Hazards Seriously
Although fewer car accidents happen during the winter, that does not mean driving in winter road conditions is without risk.
Snow and ice on the road reduces friction, which can cause vehicles to slide and become difficult to control. Heavy snow and fog can reduce visibility, making it difficult to see obstructions, signs, or other vehicles on the road.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), nearly a quarter of all weather-related crashes happen on snowy, slushy, or icy roads.
Practice Safe Driving Habits in the Winter
Practicing safe driving habits when faced with winter road conditions can help reduce the risk of an accident. These winter driving tips can help:
- Avoid unnecessary driving trips
- Brake and accelerate slowly
- Avoid fast, jerky steering movements
- Be deliberate in your steering and use gradual movements
- Drive slowly
- Look far ahead and allow extra distance for braking
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important to contact a car accident attorney. A car accident attorney can help negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries and property damage. We encourage you to schedule a consultation online or call Salt Lake City attorney Lynn C. Harris at (801) 521-3200.