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Weather-Related Car Accidents More Deadly Than U.S. Natural Disasters

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


Weather can be dangerous. Tornadoes and other natural disasters gain a lot of media coverage and attention for being life-threatening. However, in reality, weather-related auto accidents are more deadly than all large-scale weather disasters combined each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

After a weather-related car accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. If you were involved in an accident with another car, you may be unsure who is at fault and whether you can recover compensation for your losses. Contact our Chicago personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at to find out how we can help you through this confusing time.

Weather-related Car Accidents Are Deadly

Based on data gathered between 2005 and 2014, the DOT stated more than 5,748,000 vehicle crashes occur each year. Of these accidents, 1,259,000 are related to hazardous weather like rain, snow, fog, wind, and ice. These weather-related incidents result in almost 5,900 fatalities every year. Clearly, this is a serious problem.

Comparing these deaths to the results of natural disasters demonstrates weather-related car accidents are even more serious than we normally acknowledge. The 10-year average for the number of individuals killed annually due to large-scale weather events in the U.S. is 375. Ultimately, there are more than 15 times the number of weather-related car accident fatalities in the U.S. than there are deaths due to natural disasters every year.

Prepare for Driving Winter Weather

As the Midwest descends into true winter weather, drivers need to be cautious before they head onto the roads. Snow, rain, slush, ice, and fog contribute significantly to car accidents. According to the DOT, the 10-year averages for weather-related accidents break down by condition as follows:

  • Snow/sleet: 210,341 crashes, 739 fatalities
  • Rain: 573,784 crashes, 2,732 fatalities
  • Wet pavement: 907,831 crashes, 4,488 fatalities
  • Icy pavement: 151,944 crashes, 559 fatalities
  • Snow/Slushy pavement: 174,446 crashes, 538 fatalities
  • Fog: 28,533 crashes, 495 fatalities

Snow, rain, and fog are well-known for reducing visibility. They can be so thick that drivers cannot see the front of their vehicles, let alone other cars or pedestrians. When driving during reduced visibility, individuals should drive slowly, keep their lights on, and follow the lines on the road to stay in one lane and not drift into traffic or onto the shoulder.

In addition to limited visibility, winter weather leads to slick roads, which are by far the most dangerous. In the past decade, wet pavement has led to the most weather-related car accidents and deaths. If drivers notice that the pavement is wet or there may be black ice, they should slow down considerably. Drivers should also refrain from making any sudden maneuvers or slamming on their brakes as these actions can send a car sliding or spinning into traffic.

Handling an Accident in Winter Weather

No matter how carefully you drive, others may not be so cautious behind the wheel. Immediately following an accident during poor weather, you should contact 911. If it is actively raining, snowing or excessively cold, it may be safest to stay in the car until help arrives. Your injuries could be aggravated by the winter weather. Even if you have only minor injuries, reduced visibility during winter weather increases the risk that other vehicles do not see you and cause a second accident. However, if you are able and the weather permits it, you should leave the car for only a brief time to exchange information with the other driver.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. for Help

When you are hurt in weather-related crashes, you should contact a lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.. Our experienced legal team will investigate the accident and gather evidence of the other driver’s responsibility for the crash. We will file the necessary insurance claims, and if a claim is denied, aggressively appeal the decision. Your situation may require filing a personal injury claim in court. If so, we will strive to get you fair compensation.

Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at to schedule a consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900