Winter Conditions & Car Accidents in New York City

Lever & Ecker, PLLC December 15, 2020 Car Accidents

Whenever an individual chooses to travel from one point to the next there is some margin of risk. Regardless of the form of transportation, there is the potential of injury (albeit small in most occasions). Whether you choose to walk, fly in a plane, or embark in any other mode of transportation the potential for an accident exists. When moving across regions in automobiles with snow and ice, the risks of driving are no exception to this rule.

This is the case with car accidents in New York City. When precipitation meets freezing, or near freezing temperatures, the roads become slick and drivers are more susceptible to car accidents. Compound these slick roads to the shorter days and uneven road conditions and winter can become a dangerous time to drive.

With the changing seasons and shorter amount of daylight, car accidents in the winter can become a common occurrence.

What are Common Causes of Winter Auto Accidents in New York City?

During the 2019 – 2020 winter months in New York City – 41,418 total car accidents occurred. The winter season is defined as December 21, 2019 – March, 20 2020. The top twenty causes of auto accidents in the 2019-2020 winter are below.


Contributing Factor of Vehicle Count
Driver Inattention/Distraction 11,131
Unspecified 10,347
Following Too Closely 3,449
Failure to Yield Right-of-Way 3,074
Backing Unsafely 1,782
Passing or Lane Usage Improper 1,667
Passing Too Closely 1,581
Unsafe Lane Changing 1,182
Other Vehicular 1,176
Turning Improperly 829
Unsafe Speed 709
Reaction to Uninvolved Vehicle 629
Traffic Control Disregarded 618
Driver Inexperience 611
Alcohol Involvement 500
Pavement Slippery 414
View Obstructed/Limited 334
Oversized Vehicle 235
Aggressive Driving/Road Rage 205
Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Error/Confusion 204

*Source – New York City Open Data


Based on the table above, many of the most common causes of winter auto accidents include driver inattention/ distraction, followed closely by unspecified and then following too closely.

While driving, especially in the winter, keep an abundance of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Stay out of other vehicles blind spots and do not rely solely on lane changing technology. Always look over your shoulder when making lane changes and drive with an abundance of caution to help minimize the risks of auto accidents.

Due to the winter conditions, slippery pavements may exist on winter roads. These slippery pavements can contribute to car accidents and black ice.

common causes of car accidents in New York

What is Black Ice?

When the temperature varies above freezing and then below freezing, the ice can become black ice. Black ice is especially dangerous as it is tough to differentiate between the road and the icy conditions. The snow on the road will melt during warmer, above freezing, temperatures and then refreeze when the temperatures to – or below – a freezing temperature.

Black ice on any road can present dangerous conditions, as many drivers are unable to differentiate between the road and these icy patches. The depth of the black ice is what makes it so dangerous, due to the shallow depth, the ice is nearly invisible which can lead to treacherous conditions.

Black ice is common on roads adjacent to trees or vegetation that create large areas of shade. Black ice can be commonly found on back roads, rural roads and bridges where there is limited sunlight. The lack of sunlight helps provide the conditions for black ice to occur.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been in an Auto Accident?

If you have been victimized in an auto accident ensure you examine what to do after a car accident. If you have been victimized by a personal injury, our attorneys are here to help. Lever & Ecker, PLLC offers free consultations to victims of auto accidents in New York. To contact us, complete our online contact form for a free consultation.

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