Winter Car Accidents in Ohio & How to Drive in Ice & Snow


Navigating winter roads in Ohio has its own rules and responsibilities. The treacherous roads of Ohio during winter unveil a concerning reality as the state has earned its reputation as one of the most difficult for wintertime driving. A recent analysis of three years of crash data revealed Ohio to be the fourth most dangerous state for winter driving, boasting the second-highest number of winter road fatalities. Despite not topping the charts for snowfall, with an annual average of over 26 inches, Ohio’s winter conditions pose significant hazards for drivers.


Ohio Winter’s Harsh Realities

As we grapple with staggering statistics revealing that 25% of weather-related car crashes occur on snowy, icy, or slushy pavement, coupled with winter weather contributing to 2,200 deaths and nearly 200,000 injuries annually nationwide, the need for essential strategies in safe winter driving becomes imperative.


Ohio faced a formidable winter last year, experiencing over 15,600 crashes and 27 tragic deaths on snow, ice, or slush-covered roads, as reported by Patch. This underscores the urgency for drivers to be well-versed in specific winter driving laws established in the state to ensure safety during these hazardous conditions.


Ohio’s Winter Driving Laws

In response to the hazardous conditions, Ohio has instituted specific laws that demand the attention and compliance of every driver venturing onto winter roads.


Snow Removal Regulations

Before driving, drivers must clear snow off windows, license plates, headlights, and taillights. Noncompliance may result in a minor misdemeanor ticket. Although there is no prohibition, driving with snow on the hood, roof, or trunk is illegal.


Headlights and Wipers Synchronization

The Ohio law requires headlights while windscreen wipers are on. Although police officers can’t pull cars over for this infringement, they may issue tickets for other violations. Headlight violations may be considered principal offenses by certain insurance carriers, raising premiums. In case of a collision, driving without lights in bad weather may be negligent.


Embracing a Proactive Approach

Ohio’s winter driving laws are not exhaustive; they emphasize a proactive approach beyond mere compliance.


In Ohio, negligence extends beyond specific laws. Drivers can be deemed negligent or comparatively negligent for any unsafe action considering prevailing weather conditions. This includes common infractions like speeding, tailgating, and neglecting proper vehicle maintenance.


As winter tightens its icy grip on Ohio, drivers must contribute to safe and responsible driving. Clear the snow, keep those headlights on, and remember—it’s not just about following the rules; it’s about being mindful and considerate on the road. Stay safe out there!


Responsibility in Ohio Ice and Snow Traffic Accidents

Winter traffic accidents are often attributed to slippery roads and reduced visibility. However, dismissing a traffic crash on snowy roads as a mere accident is a misconception – these incidents may involve negligence, raising questions about responsibility.


Determining Negligence

The question is whether a person or corporation was negligent and contributed substantially to the occurrence and harm. A driver who drove too fast, was distracted, or tailgated may be liable for the collision. A driver who fails to install proper tires or maintain their brakes might cause an accident.


City or State Liability in Bad Weather Accidents

In certain scenarios, the entity responsible for road design, construction, or maintenance may share responsibility for a snow-related traffic crash. The presence of snow and ice on the road is usually insufficient to prove responsibility. However, they may be held accountable if the responsible person knew or should have known about unsafe situations and failed to remedy or warn about them.



Ohio’s winter driving demands heightened awareness among the citizens. Ranked as the fourth most dangerous state for winter driving, accidents, and fatalities emphasize the urgency for proactive measures. The Winter driving laws go beyond compliance, emphasizing the need to clear snow from vehicles and synchronize headlights and wipers.


If you’ve been injured in any winter car accident in Ohio, our firm is prepared to assist you through the complexities of your case and ensure accountability on your behalf. Schedule a consultation with us today!