Accident Rates in Pennsylvania and how to avoid them

stop signThere are many times when I am grateful for the fact that I live in rural Pennsylvania. We may have back roads, potholes and hillbillies, but we also have less traffic and quieter evenings. Accidents of course, are something that can happen no matter what part of the state you live in. For example, imagine that you are with your friends at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, having enjoyed a Sunday afternoon watching the Eagles hopefully win a game in National Football League action. Go team!

As soon as the traffic clears and the tailgating stops, your group pulls out of the parking lot… right into the path of another car. The sound of tires squealing, glass cracking and cars crunching can be heard through the area.

Alcohol or not, car accidents like this are more common in the Philadelphia area than you would think. A recent survey in US News and World Report cited Philadelphia as the sixth worst city in the country in terms of car accidents. The average likelihood of a crash is 60 percent higher than normal and drivers go a little over six years between crashes. The worst city for accidents is Washington, D.C., I guess gridlock isn’t limited to just political issues in that area!

Even though the likelihood of an accident in Philadelphia is more than one and a half times the normal expectation, the nice thing is fatal accidents have dropped in the state as a whole. For 2011, the most recent year available, the number of fatal crashes actually dropped from 1,324 to 1,291. There were 379 fatalities related to drunk driving in 2011, the lowest in over a decade.

Everything else also dropped. The number of accident deaths involving motorycles? Down. Drivers that hit trees? Drivers that crossed the median? Drivers that hit head on? All down from the previous year of 2010. This is great news!

A nice note is the amount of drivers without insurance that were involved in accidents was only seven percent, compared to the rates of 20 percent and higher found in states like Misssissippi, Florida, New Mexico, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Living in PA, we know how much road construction there is during the nicest months. Most of the Pennsylvania Turnpike road construction for 2013 centers around bridge repair and replacement. While, that won’t necessarily help prevent accidents, it could save some wear and tear on vehicles.

There are two areas everyone should really watch out for when it comes to car accidents. Keep an eye on the entire area of northern Pennsylvania where Erie is located, along Lake Erie. Pennsylvania occasionally gets hit with winter storms, some of which sweep across the state. Along the lake, especially with a north or northwest wind, there is always the danger of “lake effect” snow coming down. This refers to snow that falls at a much faster rate than during a regular storm or flurry. If you were to look out my window right now, you would see what I mean. It’s the first day of spring and we have a Lake effect Watch going on now through Friday evening – 6 to 12 inches are expected. WooHooo, welcome spring!

march snow

When lake snow falls there is always the danger of driving from sunny or partly cloudy conditions into a wall of snow. Or, you could experience a day like today where it is both sunny and snowy! this makes for very bright driving conditions that can hurt the eyes while driving. Living in this area, there is no way we would drive anywhere in our autos without plenty of Pennsylvania car insurance protection. Drivers who operate cars in the state must have vehicle liability insurance, whether it is purchased in state or brought over from another state’s insurer. This is important because sudden snow squalls can blind your sight and before you know it you might ram the back end of another vehicle.

Another thing to look out for in our great state is wildlife, and lots of it. If you live in western Pennsylvania anywhere where woods or forest are present, chances are you have seen wildlife or deer. Often deer sit docile by the side of the road, but sometimes the deer just jump out in front of your car, and before you know it you’ve killed Bambi and your car looks like a wreck. I have never understood why they wait until you are almost past, then dart out in front of you instead of turning around and running back into the woods. Car-deer accidents are a major reason why autos are often in body shops for major work and repairs. We have hit several over the years ourselves and were so glad to have the insurance to cover our repairs. 

There are safer areas to drive in Pennsylvania. Not every corner of the state is a living nightmare. But this is a start at some of the places you should look at when you are driving throughout the beautiful Keystone State.

Enjoy your travels, but be vigilant. You never know when the next accident might be around the corner.

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    Driving in Boston is a NIGHTMARE. And I mean it in the worse sense of the word possible. It’s confusing and I swear – every time I drive through the city, I see multiple accidents.

  2. 2

    I know how that snow can be. In Utah, around Utah lake, it’s awful! I remember the first time I drove in the snow, it was going just fine until I lost control and ran into a fence…oops. I’m glad we had insurance.

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