Our research of the snowiest states and the chilling statistics of annual deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled reveal the most dangerous states for winter driving. With each state presenting its unique challenges, this list is a stark reminder to tread cautiously on these icy roads.
Massachusetts – Rank: 10
With its 57.67 inches of annual snowfall and a death rate of .71 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled Massachusetts presents a unique challenge to drivers. The combination of coastal storms and dense urban areas like Boston requires drivers to be adept at navigating slick roads and sudden snowstorms.
Minnesota – Rank: 9
Minnesota sees 57.76 inches of snow and has a death rate of .85. Its frigid winters and snow-covered landscapes demand drivers have solid winter driving techniques. From Minneapolis’s bustling city streets to the serene but slippery roads of the North Shore, preparedness is critical to traversing the state safely.
New Hampshire – Rank: 8
New Hampshire experiences 174.35 inches of snow and records a .90 death rate. The White Mountains, in particular, receive some of the heaviest snowfalls in the region, significantly affecting road conditions. The state’s scenic but often dangerous mountain passes, and rural roads necessitate a high degree of skill in snow navigation.
Utah – Rank: 7
Utah’s winter wonderland brings 58.2 inches of snow and a death rate of .98. The state’s diverse geography, including the desert roads that still see snowfall, requires drivers to be versatile. Equipping vehicles with chains, snow tires, and emergency kits is crucial for safe travel on Utah’s treacherous winter roads.
Wyoming – Rank: 6
With its open landscapes, Wyoming gets 77.33 inches of snow and has a .99 death rate. High winds can create drifting snow and reduced visibility, posing a challenge to the drivers. Travelers must be prepared for sudden weather changes and equip their vehicles appropriately for long stretches of remote roads.
Maine – Rank: 5
Maine’s rugged landscape receives 92 inches of snow and a 1.05 death rate. The state’s coastal storms can be particularly severe, with Nor’easters bringing heavy snowfall and high winds. Drivers often keep blankets, flashlights, and extra food in their vehicles, ready for the challenges of winter travel.
New York – Rank: 4
With 61.21 inches of snow and a 1.08 death rate, New York’s winters are a mix of urban challenges and rural road hazards. In addition to its snowfall, New York’s icy conditions are exacerbated by the “lake effect” near the Great Lakes, causing sudden and intense snowstorms.
Vermont – Rank: 3
Vermont’s quaint scenery belies its winter hazards, with 80.2 inches of snow and a 1.12 death rate. The state’s rural charm comes with roads that can quickly become ice-covered. Its small towns and villages can be isolated during heavy snowfalls, complicating emergency and recovery efforts.
Alaska – Rank: 2
In Alaska, 79.6 inches of snow and a 1.16 death rate underscore the challenges of winter driving in the extreme. The vast distances, limited daylight, and extreme cold conditions necessitate preparedness and survival skills. Drivers are advised to carry emergency supplies and be familiar with cold-weather driving techniques.
Michigan – Rank: 1
Michigan is the most dangerous state to drive in during winter, with 70.38 inches of snowfall and the highest death rate of 1.17. Lake-effect snow, particularly near the Great Lakes, can lead to sudden and severe snowstorms, making roads treacherous. Winter driving here requires exceptional skill and patience.