The northeastern United States is neck-deep in record snowfall and there are some residents in Texas that are seeing snow for the first time since 1987. Truck drivers are scraping their windshields and turning up the heater day-in and day-out to keep the economy running. We here at Transportation Data Source wanted to see exactly how winter weather affects drivers. The answer may or may not come as a surprise: truckers are driving significantly more safely during the winter months.
From November to February, we’re usually plagued by backed up freeways due to pile-ups. These wrecks are often caused by drivers not taking the appropriate precautions: slowing down and keeping a safe distance. It’s much less often that we see videos like the one below that came out of Wyoming on I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie. A total of 64 cars and trucks were involved. The cause of this pile-up was a nasty storm that hit hard and fast, creating huge ice patches almost instantly and limiting visibility to just a few meters. Luckily, no one was killed.
We compiled data from 2016 and 2017 of all carriers receiving violations for a variety of winter-related citations. In a nutshell, we found that truck drivers are extra careful in the winter months. December and January are the slowest months – receiving about 15% fewer speeding violations than the the month of August. It makes sense to see speeding decrease in the winter. Visibility is lower and roads are slicker. Any reasonable driver would be slowing down. But after seeing this data, we made a guess that we were going to find an uptick in reckless driving and dangerous driving violations – citations that are commonly given to drivers involved in bad weather accidents. December and January were, once again, the lowest months for the citations in question.
This data is clear proof that truck drivers are alert, aware, and drive responsibly when the weather is dangerous. Now be sure to call your insurance company to let them know the good news. Thank you to all the safe truckers out there and keep up the good work!