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"Ask A Trooper" tackles winter driving vs. summer driving

by Bonnie Amistadi

“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol


Question:  I would be very interested to know if winter driving is really worse than summer?  It seems like we hear a lot more about crashes in the winter time, but I suppose it may or may not be true.  Thanks for talking about this topic.


Answer: Well, you are not alone if you think that winter driving is worse. According to a survey sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the U of M’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, about 83 percent of Americans consider winter to be the most dangerous season for driving on rural roadways. About eight percent of Americans believe summer is the most dangerous time; about four percent say spring and four percent think fall.


Actually, while we do have a lot of vehicles off the road in the winter and a lot of fender bender crashes, winter—at least in Minnesota—lacks in comparison to the amount of fatalities, and serious injuries and crashes that our summer produces. This is largely due to the fact that motorists typically travel at higher speeds in June, July and August when the weather is nice and the roads are in better condition. There are a host of other factors as well, but high speed seems to be prevalent. In the winter, we see vehicles being driven too fast for conditions, also a speed-related component, but the speeds are lower overall compared to summer.


A lot of drivers tend to blame the road authorities and the weather for the winter crashes, when in fact it is the human driver error that is responsible. We all need to take personal responsibility for our own actions behind the wheel. We all need to realize that driving a motor vehicle can be one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis and we need to be paying strict attention to our driving, especially in adverse weather situations.


If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).