While safe driving should be a year-round habit, company drivers must take extra caution during colder winter months.
Even though drivers log 20% fewer miles in winter compared to summer, the number of collisions only drops by 5%, as bad weather and fewer daylight hours make the road even more dangerous.
Below, we’ve gathered a list of important winter driving statistics, as well as ways companies can strategize to ensure their fleets have the knowledge and skills to combat the risks this winter.
Winter Crash Statistics
As we mentioned above, drivers tend to travel 20% less throughout the winter months. But even though these drivers are logging fewer hours, 20% of vehicle crashes still occur during winter.
We’ve gathered just a few of the many causes of winter driving crashes.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Each year, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet.
Snow and ice greatly reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability. This causes slower speeds, reduced roadway capacity, limited visibility and ultimately increased crash risk. Dangerous road conditions also cause:
- Less traction between tires and the road
- Slower braking
- Challenges for climbing steep hills
When it’s “just” raining or when snow and ice start to melt, drivers tend to let their guard down. But while wet roads and rain may seem less dangerous than snow, 74% of weather-related incidents happen on wet roads.
Increase in Drowsy Driving
Up to 20% of serious crashes are caused by drowsy driving. Just missing two to three hours of sleep can create the same impairment as being legally drunk.
One in three collisions occurs between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m during the winter. This tends to be because the days are shorter, shifts are longer and fatigued drivers take chances they shouldn’t. The problem is so significant throughout the winter months that the National Safety Council runs a drowsy driving prevention campaign every November.
Slip, Trip and Fall Incidents
During winter, long shifts and slippery surfaces magnify every mistake. Slip, trip and fall injuries are the #1 workers’ comp claim year-round, but they’re much more common in winter.
On average, a driver who has a slip and fall injury will miss 12 days of work, and during the busy holiday shipping season, you need all hands on deck. That’s why it’s important to educate drivers on how to avoid injuries in icy parking lots and slippery loading docks — in addition to avoiding hazards on the road. But where do you start?
Combat Winter Fleet Incidents With a Proactive Strategy
Unfortunately, these common statistics only scratch the surface of the dangers company drivers face while behind the wheel in the winter. From navigating black ice to battling holiday traffic on a tight schedule, drivers need to remain knowledgeable, attentive and vigilant in ensuring they are prioritizing the safety of themselves and others they share the road with during colder months.
Looking for strategies, tips and resources for proactively mitigating winter driving risks across your fleet? Download our Winter Driving Safety Tips & Resources to gain access to our entire winter safety bundle.