Michigan ranked worst state for winter driving, Minnesota ninth

Only two states had zero winter driving deaths from 2016 to 2018.

winter driving
A tow-truck driver walks to a flipped car along a snowy road outside Duluth. Minnesota ranks 9th nationally as the most dangerous state for winter driving. Michigan ranks first, Wisconsin 7th and North Dakota 8th. (News Tribune / file)

While you might think Minnesota’s winters are about as bad as it gets for drivers, Michigan is actually the most dangerous state to drive in during the winter.

That’s according to an analysis of the most recent three years of data from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Michigan by the financial company MoneyGeek.

Michigan tops all states with an average of 54 deaths on roads each year during the winter when road conditions included snow, sleet, blowing snow or freezing drizzle. Wisconsin ranked seventh on the list, North Dakota eighth, Minnesota ninth, South Dakota 12th and Iowa 21st.

Adjusted for vehicle miles traveled in the state, Minnesota ranks 12th for winter driving fatalities.

Nationally, more than 1,300 people die and another 100,000 are injured in crashes on snowy or icy roads every year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 40% of all weather-related vehicle crashes in the nation occur during snowy or icy conditions.


According to the report, Michigan topped the list with 169 deaths on highways during wintery weather from 2016 to 2018. Minnesota recorded 69 winter driving fatalities during that period.

Not surprisingly, Hawaii and Florida are the safest winter driving states, with no recorded deaths due to winter weather conditions, but Georgia managed five wintery road deaths over the three-year period.

MoneyGeek's ranking of the most dangerous states for winter driving is based on a combination of total fatalities in winter driving conditions, the fatality rate adjusted for vehicle miles traveled in the state; and the safe driving habits in each state based on the company’s ranking. States with drivers with unsafe habits — not just the states with more winter weather — tended to top the list.

The winter driving list includes some surprising states that see frequent winter conditions, but where winter driving is safer, like Massachusetts (42nd) and New Jersey (45th), where safe drivers made up for wintery road conditions.

MoneyGeek is a personal finance technology company. You can see the full report and links to data at .

The most dangerous states for winter driving

1. Michigan

2. Alaska

3. Wyoming


4. Pennsylvania

5. Montana

6. Ohio

7. Wisconsin

8. North Dakota

9. Minnesota

10. New York

12. South Dakota


21. Iowa

Source: Analysis of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data from 2016-2018 by MoneyGeek

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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