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Most people don’t particularly like driving in the snow. Icy roads and blizzard conditions mean car accidents are more likely to happen.
Here at Jerry, we looked at which states have more accidents in the winter. It seems that the worst states for winter driving, like Mississippi and Alabama, are also the states with drivers that may have less experience with wintry conditions, according to our data.
Let’s take a closer look at the best and worst states for winter driving.
What the winter driving data revealed
Jerry used crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2005-2019 to examine fatal crashes during the winter. Winter includes the months of December, January, and February.
We found that Mississippi and Alabama have more than double the fatal crashes per 100,000 residents than D.C., Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Utah, Minnesota, and other states. Seven of the 10 states with the least winter crashes per 100,000 residents are in the Northeast—areas with traditionally harsh winters.
The only non-Northeast states on the list are Washington, Utah, and Minnesota, which are also states that experience intense winters.
It’s probably not too surprising that nine of the 10 states with the most fatal winter crashes per 100,000 residents are in the South or Southwest—areas with traditionally mild winters. The only non-Southern state included is Wyoming.
Winter driving in Mississippi and Alabama
According to Mississippi State University, Mississippi is located in the humid subtropical climate region, which means the state sees long, hot summers and temperate winters. Temperatures typically only drop to 0 and lower once every five years on average in the state, although freezing temperatures do reach the Gulf coast almost every winter.
While some parts of Mississippi do see measurable snow or sleet in the majority of winters, the ground rarely freezes and outdoor activities generally take place all year.
A report by WLBT indicated that Mississippi may have had issues with a lack of equipment and resources during a winter storm earlier this year, which may have made the impact of snow and ice even worse. This may indicate that perhaps there is a larger problem within the state, and drivers can’t be totally blamed for dangerous winter driving.
In Alabama, winters are not as cold as they used to be in the 1970s and 1980s, according to WBRC. In fact, with temperatures over 3 degrees above average, winter is the fastest warming season for Alabama.
While Alabama residents are not exactly accustomed to winter driving, snow still does happen, according to AL.com. One of the frustrating parts of an Alabama winter is that it can be unpredictable—which is perhaps why drivers in the state may not be as used to driving in the snow as residents in other states.
Causes of fatal winter crashes
Further data analysis revealed that rain, cloudy weather, fog/smoke, and snow contribute most to winter-related crashes. In addition, snowy conditions contribute to an additional 600 fatal crashes during the winter months.
If you don’t have a lot of experience driving in the snow, or just need a refresher, there are a few easy tips to remember.
Be aware of the road, and if you see vehicles crashing ahead of you, tap your brakes, then maneuver to avoid getting involved in the collision, according to the New York Times.
It’s also a good idea to keep three seconds of distance between your car and the car in front of you and to avoid roads that do not give you an exit.
Of course, it’s best to avoid travel at all in bad weather, but that is not always possible.
To keep yourself protected on the road in the winter, make sure you have appropriate car insurance. Jerry can help you find the best deals on coverage by comparing rates from 50 top providers.