Approximately 1 out of 5 crashes nationwide is caused by adverse weather, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Weather-related crashes kill nearly 5,000 people (16% of fatal crashes) and injure more than 418,000 (19% of injury crashes) each year.
Over the last several years, Texas has experienced the most weather-related deaths of any state. Weather events in Texas killed around 500 people and injured over 1,300 people over a recent seven year stretch. These events include winter weather, tornadoes, wind, floods, hurricanes, hail, and rain.
Not all of these weather-related injuries and deaths are attributable to roadway crashes—but a significant number of them are. Accident data from the Texas Department of Transportation shows that, out of 475,000 total crashes statewide, more than 1 out of 10 are attributable to weather conditions. The Texas Department of Insurance confirms that nearly 60,000 Texas crashes are caused each year by poor weather conditions.
Data from car insurance comparison tool Jerry reveals that Texas weather-related accidents are on the rise. In fact, weather related crashes are increasing in Texas more than in any other state. Jerry attributes this to an overall increase in extreme weather conditions due to a changing climate. For example, warmer oceans off the coast of Texas are contributing to more powerful hurricanes, which can make landfall in coastal cities like Houston.
Texas State climatologists expect the odds of extreme rainfall events to increase by 30 – 50% between now and 2036. An increase in winter storms is expected across the South as the Arctic warms and polar winds are pushed further south. This phenomenon was blamed for a winter storm that caused a deadly 130-vehicle pileup on Interstate 35 near Fort Worth. The Texas Tribune confirms that extreme weather events are expected to accelerate over the next 10 to 20 years.