Winter Car Accidents FAQs

January 12th, 2022 by


Silver gray SUV and dark blue car in an accident

The staff at Thompson Sales wants you to be safe when you’re driving your vehicle. Accidents are a part of life, and around 6 million traffic accidents occur every year in the United States.

Winter presents its own set of challenges when it comes to avoiding accidents.

Read on to discover our body shop’s answers to several FAQs about winter car accidents.

Why should I be careful when driving on roads in winter?

Several statistics show that you should be more careful when driving on snow and in the winter:

  • Nearly three-fourths (70%) of U.S. roads and the American population are in regions that receive snow.
  • 17% of all vehicle crashes happen in winter conditions, with 1,836 deaths.
  • More than 156,000 wrecks happen due to icy roads leading to 116,800 injuries and 1,300 deaths.
  • Around 76,000 people are injured in traffic accidents during snowfall, leading to death.
  • Around 70% of all accidental deaths in winter happen in cars.

How does winter weather affect car accidents?

The vast majority of weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement, particularly during rainfall. 

Warning Triangle on a Snowy Road With Silver Vehicle in the Background

What does winter precipitation do to cause car accidents in winter?

The Federal Highway Administration outlines that winter precipitation does a few things to hinder motorists, leading to accidents on roadways, including:

  • Visibility distance due to falling snow.
  • Pavement friction is reduced because of snow cover.
  • Lane obstructions such as snow drifts.

What other factors lead to winter car accidents?

  • How much traffic a roadway allows on it.
  • Amount of traffic on roads.
  • Traffic speed and how fast traffic moves.
  • Time of day, including rush hour.

Road Sign Warning of Slippery Pavement

How can I operate a vehicle more safely to try to avoid a winter car accident?

As a driver, you can do several things to operate your vehicle more safely in the colder months.

  1. Slow down to at least half of the posted speed limit when winter precipitation occurs.
  2. Leave at least 30 extra minutes of drive time to get where you are going.
  3. Do not accelerate or decelerate quickly.
  4. Do not slam on the brakes when approaching a traffic light.
  5. Keep using your windshield wipers to clear away falling snow.
  6. Maintain your defroster to prevent a fogged windshield.
  7. Consider choosing a less congested route so long as road conditions are not worse in winter weather.
  8. Pay attention to traffic apps and GPS for warnings about accidents and traffic jams.
  9. Make sure your gas tank is at least ¾ full.
  10. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case of an accident.

How many car accidents happen in winter?

Around 17 percent of all vehicle crashes occur in the winter months, or around 156,000.

When do most winter car accidents occur?

Most traffic crashes occur between 3 and 6 p.m., which is congruent with rush hour. Saturday represents the day with the most accidents due to people going shopping and going out to eat.

Cars Covered in Snow Along a Road

How does snow affect driving?

Snow affects two key aspects of driving, which can impact your vehicle and your family.

  1. Tire traction. Snow on the pavement reduces traction between the road and the tires on your car. Less traction means your car may slide off the road or start to skid.
  2. Visibility. Your visibility is greatly reduced when it snows. Falling snow isn’t the only problem. Snow that has already fallen also poses a hazard when high winds might blow it and reduce your visibility. At night, snow reflects your headlight beams, which makes it more difficult to see the road in front of you. Moving snow can cause confusion and visual distortions as well as ice build-up on your windshield.

Car Accident and Crushed Fenders on a Snowy Road

What should I do if I’m in a car accident in the snow?

Snow presents hazards that you must take into account if you’re ever in a car accident in the winter.

  1. Make sure everyone in your vehicle is okay. Ask if everyone is all right to check if there are no major injuries.
  2. Put your hazard lights on.
  3. If your car can still move, get your vehicle off the road so other vehicles don’t hit yours. On a highway, pull off to the shoulder. In a city or with buildings nearby, pull into a parking lot. 
  4. If your car can’t move, make sure it’s safe to leave your vehicle before you get out of it. Look for oncoming traffic before opening your doors. Set up road flares or a reflective triangle to let someone know there is a broken down car on the road. 
  5. Get everyone out of your car. Move everyone out of your vehicle and into someplace warm if you’re in a city. If you’re on a highway, in the middle of nowhere without a lot of traffic, stay in your vehicle to maintain warmth. Your winter emergency kit should have extra blankets in it so everyone in your car can stay warm until help arrives. 
  6. Call for help. Contact the police by dialing 9-1-1 on your cell phone. Explain your location and what happened. Once authorities arrive on the scene, they will direct traffic and gather evidence about the crash.
  7. Take photos of the scene, if you can. Take photos of the crash site, visible damage to your vehicle and other vehicles, and any surrounding structures. 
  8. Seek medical attention for any injuries. You might not seem injured at first, but adrenaline and the stress of being in an accident might lead to pain and symptoms you don’t detect until later. If you feel any pain after the accident, seek medical attention immediately.

What happens with car insurance for accidents sliding on ice?

If you slide on ice and hit another car or object, insurance companies consider it an at-fault claim whether a police officer gives you a ticket or not. Ice cannot be faulted for an accident. Usually, driving too fast for driving conditions is the reason given for an accident involving an insurance claim for sliding on ice, which is why slowing down is crucial to preventing damage to your vehicle and injuries to people.

Minimally, you need collision coverage if you want insurance to pay for damage and towing your vehicle. Keep in mind you must also pay the deductible.

Where can I take my vehicle after I get into an accident?

The body shop at Thompson Sales can help! Contact us or give us a call at (417) 763-6811 to talk to us. We’ll help you in any way we can.