Pennsylvania Winter Driving Safety

From 2011 to 2015, Pennsylvania was considered one of the top five deadliest states for winter car accidents. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pennsylvania had an average of about 83 fatal car accidents during the winter months, topping the list at number three.

Causes of Winter Accidents

Unfortunately, 25% of these fatal Pennsylvania car accidents involve out-of-state drivers. The reason behind this? Weather conditions that out-of-staters have never seen before. And although fatal winter accidents can be caused by a number of factors, the main culprit is the weather. In fact, 1 out of 5 car accidents occur during inclement weather. The following are the leading causes of winter accidents on the road.

Poor Visibility

During the winter months blizzards, hail, heavy snow, rain and fog can reduce visibility on the roads and increase the risk of an accident. In addition, snow pile up on the road can make it harder for drivers to see traffic signs, pedestrians, vehicles and other objects along the road.

Slippery Roads

Sometimes the causes of car accidents on the road are also caused by things we can’t see. When it rains or temperature drops down, roads can be come slippery with black ice. Black ice on the road forms from light freezing rain or snow that has melted and re-freezed.

Car Condition

Steering through harsh weather is already tough enough, but having a vehicle that’s not equipped to do so is detrimental. If you car has worn out or bald tires, your risk of getting in an accident from the road conditions are increased since your tires have poor traction. Broken headlights or taillights, defroster fans, and windshield wipers can all effect how you navigate through winter weather.

Excess Snow

That’s right, snow itself can cause major winter accidents. Snow or ice left on vehicles can fly off and cause serious injuries or damage to yourself or others on the road. In fact, you can be fined you up yo $1,000 in Pennsylvania if ice and snow projecting off of your car injures someone or causes damage.

How to Avoid Winter Accidents

So what can you do to protect yourself and other drivers on the road while traveling during wintertime? Now that you know the causes, here are some winter safety tips to follow to prepare for and avoid deadly winter accidents:

  • Get your car serviced regularly
  • Clear the snow of off your car before heading out on the road
  • Always carry a winter emergency kit in your car (i.e. shovel, ice scraper, gloves, extra blankets)
  • Never head out on a big trip without a full tank of gas
  • Don’t break, speed up or swerve to avoid black ice – instead, keep calm and keep your steering wheel straight
  • Use your fog lights for low visibility conditions
  • Be alert and cautious at all times

Preparing your self and your vehicle for winter is going to decrease your risk of accidents and keep you safe in any weather!

Highest Ranking Holiday For Crashes In Pennsylvania

With the holiday season approaching, the number of cars on the road increase due to people traveling to and from home to celebrate. Which means a higher chance of car crashes and fatalities. But which holiday is most likely to cause an accident on the road?

For folks in Pennsylvania, it’s Thanksgiving. Which makes sense, since over 50 million people in the U.S. will travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving this year. Making this year’s Thanksgiving travel volume the highest it’s ever been since 2005, as reported by AAA.

According to PennDOT, there were a total of 18,449 crashes and 213 fatalities just over the holidays in 2016. Of those, 4,500 crashes and 54 fatalities occurred surrounding Thanksgiving alone.  So how does that stack up to other holidays? Below are graphs courtesy of PennDOT that represent the ranking in descending order, of total crashes and fatalities,  for each holiday period.

pennsylvania holiday crash statistics

Unfortunately, the majority of these holiday-related crashes involve alcohol. In fact, alcohol-related car and pedestrian accident fatalities accounted for 32% of all Pennsylvania fatalities that occurred during holiday weekends in 2016.

So if you’re planning to travel this holiday reason, remember to drink responsibility and keep an eye out for drunk drivers on the road. You can help avoid drunk driving accidents and other serious Pennsylvania car accidents this holiday season by following these steps:

  • Always have a designated driver if you plan to drink alcohol
  • Watch out for motorcyclists and other vehicles sharing the road with you
  • Don’t text and drive or engage in any other distracted driving activities
  • Be alert and obey all traffic laws
  • Make sure you and all of your passengers are buckles up at all times
  • Give yourself enough time so that you are not driving in a hurry

The holidays are for celebrating, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying delicous foods – they’re not for car accidents. So take the right steps to prevent car accidents and keep you and your family safe this holiday season!

Deer Crashes On The Rise In Pennsylvania

Deer mating season is here, so your chances of being involved in a deer-related crash is at it’s highest. Fall and early Winter is considered to be peak mating season for deer, so be extra cautious of your surroundings while driving between October and December.

Deer Crash Statistics

According to State Farm’s annual deer claim study, Pennsylvania ranked #3 in the country for deer-related car accidents. That means that every time you get behind the wheel in Pennsylvania, there is a 1 in 67 chance of hitting a deer.


The top 10 states at risk for hitting a deer include:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Iowa
  5. Wisconsin
  6. South Dakota
  7. Minnesota
  8. Wyoming
  9. Michigan
  10. North Dakota

The highest state at risk is West Virginia, with 1 in 43 chances and Hawaii -not surprisingly – being the lowest risk state with 1 in 6,823 chances of hitting a deer while driving.

Under Pennsylvania state law, car accidents involving deer are considered not-at-fault accidents, and insurance companies are not legally allowed to increase policyholders’ premiums. But US drivers still spent an average of $4,179 on insurance claims for deer-related accidents across the country in between July 2016 to June 2017.

How To Avoid Deer-Related Collisions

According to statistics, deer collisions are more likely to occur around dawn and dusk. Daylight savings time ends in November, which will put more drivers on the road during peek deer activity hours. Drivers should be careful to remain alert and focused on the road especially during the early morning and late evening hours. Some other tips for preventing deer-related crashes altogether include:

  • Slow down and pay attention to all road signs (i.e. speed limit, deer crossing)
  • Wear a seat belt at all times
  • Avoid distracting activities while driving like texting or eating
  • If you see a deer on the side of the road, proceed with caution and be on the lookout for other deer crossing the road
  • Break to avoid hitting deer, but do not swerve

What To Do If You Do Hit A Deer

If you are involved in a deer collision, pull over safely and turn your hazard lights on. Document the incident so that you have all the necessary information if the collision results in injury or property damage.

If you hit a deer and it survives, stay away from the animal be cautious for any sudden movements as deer are unpredictable. However if the deer dies after a collision, The Pennsylvania Game Commission encourages drivers to report the incident as soon as possible to local authorities. You can also call the PA Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD to remove the deer from the road and prevent other motorists from any further danger.

You may not think that it could possibly happen to you, but taking the necessary precautions to avoid a deer-related accident is your best bet to stay safe.


A Closer Look at Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania

Drunk driving is never a good idea, and it rarely has a positive outcome. Drinking alcohol impairs judgment and delays your cognitive abilities, so adding driving to the equation is a recipe for disaster. Not only do you put yourself at risk, you put others at risk as well. Even though it seems like a no brainer to avoid drinking and driving, it continues to happen across the United States every single day.

Let’s Talk Numbers

Over 1.5 million people are arrested every year for DUI’s in the US. Just last year Pennsylvania saw a total of 19,518 DUI arrests. And over the last decade there was a whopping 53, 721 DUI arrests in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city. But sadly, for some people DUI arrests are not a threatening enough consequence to stop people from hopping behind the while again after a night of drinking. What people fail to realize is that deciding to drink and driving can not only land you in jail, but it can also land you and others involved in the hospital or worse – the morgue.  

2016 was said to be one of the worst years ever for drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is an average of 30 people dying per day from a DUI-related accident. And unfortunately, about 10% of these fatalities were non-drinking drivers, passengers or innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 10,256 drunk driving-related crashes in 2016. Of those, 297 of them were fatal.

The Good News

 Alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania have been trending downward since 2011. Companies like Lyft and Budweiser have been a part of that change, even teaming up last year to reduce drunk driving by distributing over 80,000 free ride vouchers to Lyft users. To keep the momentum going this year, Budweiser’s new campaign “Give a Damn. Don’t Drive Drunk.” is providing Lyft users with $20 round-trip rides credits to use during weekends and holidays across 10 states, including Pennsylvania.

So, How Can You Help?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a multimillion-dollar company to make a difference. You too can help reduce drunk driving by taking the following precautions:

  • Before drinking, always choose a designated driver, whether it be a non-drinking friend, taxi or calling a rideshare service like Lyft and Uber
  • Don’t let your loved one’s drive after drinking – offer to drive, take their keys away, or help them find a safe ride home
  • If you’re attending a special event somewhere and plan to drink, book a hotel or make arrangements to sleep over
  • Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking
  • Always buckle-up (to protect against drunk drivers on the road)
  • Report drunk drivers on the road if you suspect one

And most importantly, don’t drink and drive! Educate yourself and others on the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. The Pennsylvania State Police even offer free workshops or schools, community organizations, and businesses to raise awareness about drunk driving.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so taking the necessary precautions to avoid drunk driving can avoid jail time, injuries and death.