10 States with the Fewest Weather-Related Fatal Crashes [2021 Study]

The national average for weather-related car crashes is 20 crashes, resulting in one or more deaths for every 1 million drivers. Living in one of the safest states for driving in dangerous weather conditions will reduce your risk of getting in a deadly car crash. Colorado has the least weather-related crash fatalities, with only four fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. Other locations in our study of the states with the fewest weather-related fatal crashes also have fewer lives lost to deadly weather crashes than the rest of the country.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by (REMOVAL, GONE – 03.24.22) Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach (REMOVAL, GONE – 03.24.22) Sara Routhier

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2022

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What You Should Know
  • States with milder weather year-round will have fewer weather-related car accidents
  • Rain was the most common cause of weather-related crashes in the 10 best states
  • The 10 best states have an average of 8 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers

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Driving in bad weather can be nerve-wracking for even the most experienced of drivers. Bad weather conditions can cause icy roads, limited visibility, and other driving hazards. Luckily, if your state makes our list of the states with the fewest weather-related fatal crashes, you won’t have to deal very often with poor weather conditions.

Our study looks into the states with the fewest weather-related fatal crashes to find which 10 states are the safest from inclement weather.

In addition to covering weather-related deaths in the best states, we will go over the dangers of driving in poor weather and expert tips on how to stay safe.

Keep in mind that even if you live in a state with fewer weather-related crashes, it is still vital to carry the right coverage in case of a crash. If you need help finding the right coverage for your needs, make sure to read our guide to understanding auto insurance.

And even if you’re in one of the safest states for weather-related fatal crashes, you can still save on auto insurance. Enter your ZIP code into our free online quote comparison tool. It’ll give you the best rates for your area based on your demographic information.

Late in this article, we’ll cover weather-related deaths, which weather events on average cause the most deaths in the United States, the most dangerous weather in the world, and the most frequent cause of weather-related fatalities while driving.

Now, let’s get started.

The Safest States for Weather-Related Fatal Crashes

To find the best states for weather-related crashes, our team pulled the latest data on weather-related crashes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The latest NHTSA data shows fatal crashes, which means that the NHTSA’s data represents a fatal crash that resulted in one or more people’s death. This means that the fatal crash numbers you see could represent more than one death for each crash, making the individual fatality rates possibly higher than what the NHTSA data shows.

To find the fatal crash rate for each state, our researchers pulled corresponding data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to find the total of fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. The graphic below shows the results for the 10 best states.

Best State Crashes

Read on to learn more about each state’s results on our list.

#10 – New York

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 11.64
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 142

You may be surprised to see New York on the list at number 10, as New York is known for poor weather conditions like snowy, cold winters. However, with just under 12 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers, New York’s fatal crashes from the weather are low.

Of course, New York is well-prepared for clearing roads in the winter, and in places like New York City, most people don’t drive. This means that while the population in places like New York City is high, most people aren’t driving when it’s windy, rainy, or snowy out. If you do own a car in New York City, make sure you have good New York City auto insurance.

#9 – Idaho

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 11.18
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 14

Idaho has the ninth spot on our list, with a total of 11 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. One of the reasons for this low number of crashes may be because Idaho receives well under the U.S. average rainfall.

This means fewer rainy days, so drivers don’t have to deal with slick roads and the risk of hydroplaning regularly. However, Idaho does have a fair bit of snowfall every year, so drivers need to be cautious during the winter months.

#8 – New Hampshire

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 10.33
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 12

Are you surprised to see New Hampshire on the list? Like New York, New Hampshire isn’t known for its mild weather. New Hampshire has a higher-than-average amount of snowfall every year and a higher-than-average amount of rainfall.

Despite this, New Hampshire’s rate of weather-related crashes is still one of the lowest in America. This could be to road-maintenance efforts or just the carefulness of the drivers. Whatever the reason, New Hampshire has earned its spot on the list.

#7 – Delaware

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 10.17
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 8

Delaware ranks seventh, with only 10 fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. While Delaware gets a normal amount of rain every year, its snowfall is less than average.

This could be part of the reason why Delaware has a lower than average rate of fatal weather-related crashes, even though its weather isn’t the mildest.

#6 – Massachusetts

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 8.90
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 44

Massachusetts has fewer than nine fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. This low number places it as number six on our list.

Massachusetts does get a fair bit of snow and rain every year, but luckily the fatal crashes caused by these weather conditions are low. As long as Massachusetts drivers continue to drive safely and the state keeps the roads clear, the number of fatal crashes should continue to stay low.

#5 – Nevada

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 7.56
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 15

Nevada ranks fifth on our list of the best states for fatal weather crashes. Nevada is one of the least dangerous states for poor weather driving, with just under eight fatal crashes per 1 million drivers.

There is very little snowfall and rainfall in Nevada, so the low number of crashes from weather makes sense. Nevada drivers are more likely to face sun glare than icy roads.

#4 – Utah

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 6.40
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 13

Utah comes in fourth, with less than seven fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. With very little rainfall during the year, Utah isn’t one of the rainy states.

Utah does have snow throughout the winter and is known for its ski resorts, but despite this, Utah still has a low average of fatal weather crashes.

#3 – California

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 6.36
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 172

The sunny state of California ranks third, with only six fatal crashes per 1 million drivers. Since California is known for its great weather, this ranking comes as no surprise.

With snowfall a rarity and rainfall below average, Californian drivers worry more about other Californian drivers than causing crashes than crashing from poor weather conditions.

#2 – Arizona

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 4.54
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 24

Arizona comes in second as the best state for fatal crashes from the weather. With only five fatal weather crashes per 1 million drivers, Arizona has a low rate of weather-related fatal crashes.

With snow a rarity in Arizona and rainfall almost non-existent, most of the time, Arizonan drivers will have clear roads to drive on.

#1 – Colorado

  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes (Per 1 Million Drivers): 4.00
  • Weather-Related Fatal Crashes in State (Annual Total): 17

Colorado has an average of only four fatal crashes per 1 million drivers, which places it as number one. Colorado has a fair bit of snowfall every year, but it mainly concentrates around the mountain ranges.

Colorado also has a low average rainfall every year, so Colorado drivers aren’t often faced with the dangers of hydroplaning from slick roads. However, drivers should still make sure that they have good Colorado auto insurance in snowy or rainy weather.

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Weather-Related Deadly Accidents Across America

In 2018, poor weather caused a total of 3,371 fatal crashes in America. Rain was the leading cause of U.S. weather crashes, causing over 80 percent of all weather-related crashes.

What’s not noted in these fatal crash numbers are the crashes that happen because of good weather. When warm, clear weather rolls around, it can cause more crashes. Look at the graphic below to see how good weather in the best states for fatal weather crashes can still be a hazard.

Good Weather crashes

When the weather is nice, there is more traffic on the roads that can make driving more dangerous. Unexpected stops or bumps from construction on the roads can also contribute to crashes. Drivers are also more likely to speed and drive recklessly, as there is no visible snow or rain on the roads that make most drivers slow down.

So even though the weather may be nice in your state, this doesn’t mean that all driving hazards disappear. Make sure to drive carefully, even if it is a beautiful day outside.

Dangerous Weather Driving Tips and Personal Stories

To show you how bad weather can affect drivers, we’ve collected personal crash stories and driving tips from automotive engineers, experienced drivers, lawyers, and more. Read on to see what they have to say about driving in all kinds of weather. experts around the country

Have you ever been in a wreck because of clear weather conditions, such as the sun in your eyes, or in a wreck because of poor weather conditions, such as snowy roads?

“I have been involved in a traffic accident due to poor weather conditions when I drove the car in heavy snowfall.

The accident had happened due to the fact that there was ice on the road, and because I was in a hurry, I drove at a higher speed than needed in those bad weather conditions, thus exposing myself to a high risk of producing the accident that finally happened.

In that accident, I broke my bumper and damaged the radiator so I was unable to start the car. Winter tires did not help me on that icy road and I did not have chains, either.

Luckily, I had insurance that covered accidents where I was to blame.

I called my insurance company and waited two hours for a tow truck to come. In the meantime, I stayed in the car and covered myself with a blanket that I accidentally had with me. But from now on I will take it with me when I am driving in colder temperatures.

The tow truck came and took my car to the nearest workshop where I fixed my issue.

After that minor accident, the first thing I did was buy chains for my tires and keep them in the trunk, and, also, from now on, I decided to drive at a speed that would allow me to be safe in such conditions.”

What are some less common weather hazards outside of the norm that might cause accidents?

“If ice, snowfall, and rain are among the worst conditions to drive a car, one of the most dangerous types of driving that is well underestimated is when it is sunny outside. And by this, I am referring to the ‘blinding sun.’

This is the case when you drive and just in front of you, the sun is in an annoying position that even the small sun protectors from the roof in the car cabin don’t do much to help you.

In this case, driving becomes extremely dangerous because you will no longer be able to see the road in optimal conditions and it will expose you to a high risk of having an accident.”

What should drivers do to make sure their vehicles are okay to drive in poor weather?

“First of all, the car’s tires must be in good condition; whether it’s raining or snowing, good tires (suitable for the season) are a must for driving in poor weather conditions.

Make sure the car battery is ok. This will help you, especially in winter.

Make sure you have quality windshield wipers, which leave no traces on the windshield, especially when it is raining. If they don’t wipe well, they can increase your risk of an accident because streaks will reduce your visibility on the road a lot.

Get a set of chains for the tires if you drive on snow, in a blizzard, or on icy roads. They will help you. Also, make sure you have a warm blanket with you in these harsh conditions. You may need it if you get stuck or if you are involved in an accident.

Be sure you have a full tank when you want to drive in poor weather.”

Dragos Viteo Headshot

Dragos Viteo is the owner of the website Carphrases.com.
He has worked as an automotive engineer for 15 years.

“I was driving on my way home from my office. It was late night and the weather experts’ warning was there on the radio, but I went out to drive, and slowly, the temperature started to fall. It was -15° C and roads were full of snow, which, due to extreme temperatures, turned into black ice. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than driving on that.

As soon as I took some space and accelerated my vehicle, it started to slip and was out of control. My car went down the slope and was hit hard by the trees alongside it. I was lucky to survive with minor injuries.

I would like to share some safety measures you should take before you get in trouble as I did:

• Be prepared and bring an emergency kit
• Use winter tires
• Drive slowly and steadily
• Break early, not often
• Don’t rely on all-wheel drive
• Clear your vision
• Check the grip
• Bring jackets and child kits

Drivers going to drive in this type of harsh weather for the first time should remember these specific precautions. Be careful to keep your vehicle maintained well. In the cold weather, your vehicle will need to produce more energy, and for that, it should be well-maintained.

Winter tires are a must. When there is a sudden drop in the temperature, snow, and water over the surface of the road will transform into ice. And ice kills friction, causing vehicles to slip.

Besides all the effects of weather, one must be careful of certain factors like fog, as due to cold weather, fog can block your view and can lead to disaster.”

Robin Madelain Headshot

Robin Madelain is a digital writer with the SEO company Ranksoldier.
She has extensive experience driving in dangerous winter conditions.

Have you ever been in a wreck because of clear weather conditions, such as the sun in your eyes, or in a wreck because of poor weather conditions, such as snowy roads?

“I have been fortunate enough to avoid any kind of car accident, but that doesn’t mean the weather hasn’t created conflict on the road. I experience close calls all the time, and dense fog and bright sunlight are usually the most difficult weather conditions I face when driving in San Diego, California.”

What are some less common weather hazards outside of the norm that might cause accidents?

“Based on this research my client and I collaborated on, we found that snow actually isn’t the driving force of fatal accidents on the road.

This might be because people tend to stay off the roads during this time, people drink and drive less often, or maybe people are just generally more careful when driving through the snow, but here is what we learned after observing 168,124 fatal crashes nationwide from 2015-2019:

  • 115,955 fatal crashes occurred in clear conditions. This makes up 69% of total crashes.
  • 12,412 fatal crashes happened in the rain.
  • 1,912 fatal crashes took place in fog, smoke, or smog.
  • 1,710 fatal crashes happened in the snow.”

What’s the most important thing that drivers unused to driving in poor weather should know?

“The best way to ensure driver safety is to be an attentive driver by remaining mindful on the road.”

What should drivers do to make sure their vehicles are okay to drive in poor weather?

“To ensure your vehicle is reliable in poor driving conditions, you first need to make sure you keep up on your car’s maintenance. Some things you can check for are tire tread and tire pressure, windshield wiper capability, and your cars’ physical capability on the road. Drivers should respect the limits of their vehicles.”

Do you believe the roads in your area are among the safest or deadliest for weather-related fatal crashes?

“I believe that there are safe and unsafe roads no matter where you live. What’s unfortunate is that drivers often don’t know that until it’s too late.

Something unique about growing up in a city like San Diego, California is that despite the weather is milder than it is in other areas, San Diego drivers aren’t used to driving in fluctuating weather conditions. This can make a foggy day in San Diego more fatal than a snowstorm in Dodgeville, Michigan, solely based on the driver’s ability to handle the weather.”

Ally Rose Headshot

Ally Rose is a marketing expert for the Cerussi & Gunn Law Firm.
The CG attorneys have been advocating for New York and New Jersey clients for over 25 years.

“We see a lot of fog out on Long Island and it greatly impacts your visibility, which includes the ability to see tail and brake lights and headlights ahead of you on the road. If you are not used to driving in fog or other inclement weather, it is important that you make sure to keep extra distance between yourself and the driver in front of you.

There’s a much higher chance they could end up stopping short because of a road hazard or disabled vehicle that they didn’t see in time.

Specifically in fog, do not use your high-beams in order to see better; they can reflect off the fog and actually lower your visibility even more. If you have fog lights, put them to use instead. In terms of fog, make sure that your wipers and defrosters are in good working order because you will need them.

Do not start driving before your windshield is completely clear of any moisture, as excess moisture can increase glare.

On Long Island, the majority of our accidents are due to unsafe or aggressive driving. Hempstead turnpike on Long Island is actually one of the deadliest roads in the country, but it is deadly because of things like speeding and reckless driving, not the weather.

In poor weather, many people stay off the roads or drive with much more caution.

Our roads are also well-lit and maintained during inclement weather, so I believe we are among the safest areas in terms of weather-related crashes.”

Matt Headshot

Matthew Osborn is a New York driver and lead writer for RoadRunner Auto Transport.
RoadRunner has specialized in shipping vehicles globally for over 30 years.

“When it comes to driving in winter weather, there’s one vital step that will help keep you safe on the road: making sure you’re driving the right set of tires. That means reversing a common misunderstanding that all-season tires work well in winter.

All-season tires are great for all seasons—if you live on the southern end of North America. But if you get snow and ice even once or twice a year, they won’t do a great job keeping you safe.

In fact, even when roads are dry, all-season tires tend to lose their grip when temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), which hardens their rubber compounds and lowers their responsiveness to the road.

There is actually a major difference between all-season tires and all-weather tires. If you experience unpredictable winter weather, all-weather tires are a better fit. Like all-season tires, you can drive them all year long. But unlike all-season tires, they’re rated for winter use and crafted to navigate the snow, slush, and frigid temperatures.

All-weather tires, which winter tire inventor Nokian Tyres started making two decades ago, feature the severe service emblem (also known as the three-peak mountain snowflake), which indicates they meet the necessary standards to be certified in winter weather. The symbol also indicates the tires are legal for winter driving in places that require winter tires.

Once you have the right set of tires, you can drive more confidently on snowy roads. Without them, even the best drivers can find themselves in slippery situations.”

Wes Boling Headshot

Wes Boling is the Communications Manager at Nokian Tyres.
Nokian Tyres designed a premium winter tire and gives weather driving tips.

Frequently Asked Questions: Deadly U.S. Weather Conditions

We’ve covered a lot so far in our study of weather-related deaths in 2021, but if you have more questions, read on. We are answering the most frequently asked questions about weather conditions by state, so you can prepare for what weather you might face after a move or a during a road trip.

#1 – Which state has the least amount of severe weather?

Are you wondering what state has the calmest weather? States like California and Arizona have the mildest weather year-round. This means they also have the fewest weather-related crashes and won’t make the lists of the most dangerous states for winter driving.

#2 – What state is safest from natural disasters?

If you are curious what state has the least amount of tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, etc., the answer from most experts is Michigan. This state is the least likely to experience natural disasters, and the natural disasters it will experience are small ones.

#3 – What is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S.?

When it comes to the most dangerous weather for driving, rain is the number one weather-related killer. Outside of driving, heat kills the most people. If you live in a warm state, it is vital not to leave children or animals unattended outside or in a vehicle.

#4 – Which state in the U.S. receives the most amount of damage due to weather?

The top states with the most dangerous weather change every year due to different patterns in natural disasters and heavy storms. However, states like Alabama, Missouri, and Tennessee are usually top contenders each year of the states that suffer the most damage from severe weather conditions.

#5 – Which state has the highest tornado fatality rate?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Texas had the highest number of tornado-related deaths, followed by Mississippi. If you live in Texas, make sure to read up on the answer to the question, “Does auto insurance cover tornado damage?”

#6 – What is the most dangerous weather in the world?

Hurricanes are by far the most dangerous weather in the world, due in part to their sheer size and the intensity of the weather, which includes high winds, pouring rain, flooding, and more.

#7 – Which weather events on average cause the most deaths in the United States?

Winter weather and flooding are the most dangerous weather events in America. Both are incredibly dangerous events, especially at their extremes with heavy blizzards and hurricane flooding.

#8 – Where do most flood fatalities occur?

Most flood fatalities occur in areas that are near rivers or streams. These can overflow rapidly, causing quick flooding, and catching people off-guard with the intensity and the rapid time of the flood.

#9 – What is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States for driving?

The No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States is wet pavement, which is responsible for 70% of weather-related crashes and 12% of traffic deaths.

#10 – What hazard causes the most deaths in the United States?

Winter weather causes the most deaths in America with 1,700 people killed in winter weather-related accidents and many more deaths from freezing to death, hypothermia, and more.

#11 – How many people have died from extreme weather?

Between 2000 and 2019, an estimated 480,000 died from extreme weather events according to the think tank Germanwatch.

#12 – What state has the worst winters?

Alaska, due to its proximity to the artic and geographical location, sees the worst winters and presents some of the most difficult driving conditions.

#13 – What is the hottest state?

Florida is the hottest state in America with an average yearly temperature of 70.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Methodology: Finding the Best States for Bad Weather Crashes

To find the best states for weather-related crashes, our team used the latest data from the NHTSA, which were statistics from 2018 that were released in 2019. The NHTSA data recorded the number of fatal crashes caused by weather, which our team used to find crashes from snow, rain, and other conditions (wind, fog, etc.) in each state.

Because the total number of fatal crashes isn’t an accurate picture of which states are the best, due to varying population sizes in states, our team collected 2018 driver data from the FHWA. Our researchers then calculated the total fatal crash rate per 1 million drivers using the number of registered drivers.

This gave a much more accurate representation of which states are the best for weather-related crashes. If you do live in one of the states on our list, make sure to still drive with caution. Even warm, sunny days can mean accidents for drivers.

Even if you live in one of the states with the fewest weather-related collisions, any accident can lead to higher car insurance rates. Get the best rates in your area by plugging your ZIP code into our free online quote generator.

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Weather-Related Fatal Crashes by State
Weather-Related Fatal Crashes by State