BUFFALO, N.Y. — New research from a New York state-based attorney’s office has revealed that Alaska has the most dangerous driving conditions, with one-quarter of all fatal crashes occurring in poor weather, the highest in the U.S.
The research by personal injury attorney Richmond Vona studied crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see which states had the most fatal crashes during bad weather conditions.
The analysis revealed that Alaska has the most dangerous driving conditions, with one-quarter (25%) of fatal crashes occurring during bad weather, 150% higher than the national average. Snow was the most common condition, present during almost one in five (19%) fatal crashes. Alaska has the highest figure nationwide for bad weather crashes and crashes during snow.
West Virginia ranks second, with 18% of fatal crashes during bad weather, with rain being the most common condition. 13% of crashes happened in rainy weather, the highest nationwide.
Washington ranks third, with 16% of fatal crashes in poor weather. Washington has some of the most dangerous rainy driving conditions, present in over one in ten (11.4%) accidents, the sixth-highest nationwide. Washington also has the highest rate of crashes during ‘other’ poor conditions in the country, which the NHTSA describes as “fog, smog, smoke, severe crosswinds, or blowing sand, soil and dirt.”
Virginia ranks fourth with 15% of driver fatalities in bad weather, with almost nine in ten (86%) happening during rain. Virginia has the second-highest percentage of fatalities during rain in the country, just behind West Virginia, at 12.8%.
Wyoming ranks fifth, almost tied with Virginia, with 14.9% of fatal crashes in rough weather. Snow and sleet were the most frequent, contributing to over three-quarters (76%) of fatalities in poor weather and one in ten (11.4%) statewide, including normal weather. Wyoming also has some of the highest fatalities during other weather conditions, such as fog, severe crosswinds or blowing dirt, sand and soil, ranking ninth nationwide and contributing 2.63% to the statewide total.
Oregon has the sixth-highest percentage of fatalities in turbulent driving conditions, with a 14.5% fatality rate in bad weather. 11% of total crashes occurred during rain, the tenth-highest nationwide. Oregon also saw 2.82% of fatalities during ‘other’ poor weather, the seventh-highest in the U.S.
Kentucky ranks seventh for the highest percentage of auto fatalities in poor driving conditions, 14.4%. Rain was most common, affecting over four in five (83%) of bad weather crashes or 12% of total fatalities, including normal weather, the third-highest nationwide.
Montana ranks eighth with a fatality rate of 13.2% in severe weather. Snow was the leading weather condition, representing 5.8% of the statewide total, ranking fourth in the country. Rain also contributed 4.2%. Other adverse conditions were present during 3.16% of crashes, the fourth-highest in the U.S.
Ohio ranks ninth, with dangerous weather happening during 13% of all fatal crashes. While the state did not rank in the top ten for any particular condition, rainy weather was most common, present during one in ten (10%) crashes, 14th nationwide.
Maryland ranks 10th, as 12.9% of fatal crashes occurred during bad weather.
Maryland is one of the most dangerous states to drive in rain, ranking eighth in the country, occurring in just under 11% of fatalities.
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Richmond Vona said: “Poor weather is present in one in ten fatal crashes across the U.S., bumping up annual figures by thousands each year. The poorest driving conditions happened mostly outside the South, where rain and snow are more common. The light condition was less important; most crashes happened during daylight, regardless of the weather. While poor weather can make driving dangerous, the biggest determining factor is always the driver and how responsible they are behind the wheel.”
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