Winter Accident Statistics in Wisconsin | Studinski Law, LLC
January 27, 2022

What Percentage of Wisconsin Car Accidents Happen in Winter?

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that Wisconsin’s average snowfall ranges from approximately 40 inches in the southern part of the state to as much as 160 inches along the shores of Lake Superior. Driving in the winter brings a new set of challenges to Wisconsin motorists. Snow, ice, and sleet make driving hazardous by limiting control and visibility.

Driving in adverse winter conditions requires skill and attentiveness. Unfortunately, thousands of automobile accidents occur every winter on Wisconsin’s roads, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and even death.

The experienced car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have seen the devastating impact that winter wrecks can have on accident victims and their families. If you suffered injuries in a crash caused by someone else’s mistake, you deserve justice for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and time away from work. 

How Many Wisconsin Accidents Occur in Winter?

The University of Wisconsin–Madison estimates that more than 18,600 motor vehicle wrecks occur during winter months when roads are covered with snow, slush, or ice. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin averages a total of 136,007 motor vehicle accidents every year. This means that roughly 13 percent of Wisconsin car accidents happen in winter.

How Do Winter Conditions Cause Car Accidents?

Wisconsin winters can create dangerous driving conditions. Freezing weather brings blinding snowstorms, icy roads, and a variety of dangers that can cause accidents and injuries on the road. It’s important to know the common causes of winter car accidents and how to prevent them. Below are three winter conditions that can seriously inhibit your ability to drive safely.

Slick Roads 

Snow and ice accumulate on roadways during the winter months. Ice and snow make it difficult for tires to gain traction, in turn making it harder to turn, slow down, and stop a vehicle safely. When water freezes on road surfaces it can create black ice, which is hard to see and often causes drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

Slick road conditions can cause accidents such as:

  • Spin-out accidents: This type of crash happens when a driver loses all control of his or her vehicle because of a slick road surface. You can reduce the risk of spin-out accidents by slowing down, particularly when making a turn. If you feel your vehicle beginning to spin out, do not try to quickly correct the skid or slam on the brakes. Instead, turn the steering wheel in the direction of the spin and gradually correct yourself.
  • Sliding through intersections: The slippery surface of a road can prevent vehicles from stopping properly at red lights and stop signs, leading to collisions in intersections. The risk of these accidents can be minimized if drivers begin to reduce speed farther away from intersections in slick conditions. It is important for winter drivers to pay special attention to intersections and anticipate changes in traffic signals. 
  • Rear-end collisions: These occur when drivers cannot slow down or stop their vehicles before hitting the back of another car. The risk of rear-end collisions can be reduced by giving your vehicle extra space when driving in winter conditions. One of the best driving habits you can develop during the winter is to drive slowly and double, or even triple, your following distance.

Low Visibility

Visibility can be low in winter conditions. Falling snow and blowing sleet can make it hard to see even a few feet in front of your vehicle. Additionally, it can be difficult to see the road surfaces and markings when snow and ice are covering the ground. This can lead to lane-drifting accidents.

The risk of lane-drifting and other low-visibility accidents can be reduced by keeping an attentive eye on your surroundings. If you cannot see road markings, look for other vehicles’ tracks to follow, and maintain safe following distances at all times.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

To drive safely in any weather environment, your vehicle must be in good condition. This is especially true for winter driving. When drivers fail to adequately maintain their vehicles, they put themselves and others on the road at considerable risk.

Just some of the many examples of poor vehicle maintenance that can cause winter accidents include:

  • Worn tires: When tire treads are worn down, vehicles lose traction and cannot slow down, stop, or turn properly on ice and snow. 
  • Bad windshield wipers: When a car’s windshield wipers are dull, and/or its defrost system is malfunctioning, drivers cannot see the road clearly. 
  • Burnt out headlights and taillights: Not only will you have trouble seeing in front of you when your headlights are out, but others will have a harder time seeing your vehicle when its headlights or taillights are out, or when they are covered in ice, snow, or road salt residue

Bad weather is not an excuse for poor vehicle maintenance. Drivers have an obligation to ensure their vehicles are road-safe. A motorist can greatly reduce his or her chances of a wintertime car wreck by repairing or replacing damaged or worn-down systems or components before winter begins, and keeping headlights and taillights cleared and clean

Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin Today

The car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have substantial experience in a range of car accident claims. We have helped clients throughout Wisconsin recover the compensation and justice they deserve. We understand the hardships you may be facing, and we are committed to helping you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.

See our results.

If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a winter car accident, call Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850 to discuss your case for free. We proudly serve Plover, Marshfield, and all other Wisconsin areas.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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