The Top Causes of Buffalo Car Crashes

a red SUV with a dented fender

Buffalo drivers have been called “the worst in the state.” You may have seen this for yourself on our highways and busy streets. Crashes are common in Buffalo, but what exactly makes our streets so dangerous, and (more importantly) what are the top causes of Buffalo car crashes? Let’s take a closer look.

How Bad Is It?

A recent study from Allstate analyzing crash rates across 200 American cities found that Buffalo ranked 148th for driver safety. Further, the study found that roughly 1-in-4 Buffalo drivers have been in a crash in the past seven years. Keep in mind that study adjusted for crashes caused by the city’s notorious weather conditions. On average, Buffalo drivers are more prone to crashes than any other demographic in New York state, including those in Manhattan!

The average Buffalo driver is in a crash every eight years. By comparison, the average American driver gets in a crash once every 18 years. So what’s happening in Buffalo that effectively doubles each driver’s chance of being in a wreck?

The Top Causes


Speeding is a major contributing factor to severe crashes, accounting for about 30% of all fatal crashes in New York State. The issue is twofold. The faster a car is traveling, the less time drivers have to react to oncoming hazards. This makes crashes more likely.

When a crash does occur, the extra velocity from speeding creates a force multiplier effect, dramatically increasing the amount of damage caused in the crash and making catastrophic injuries and fatalities far more likely.

Weather Incidents

Buffalo’s heavy lake effect snow comes every year. Yet many drivers, even those who grew up in the area, are unfamiliar with best practices for driving on snow and ice. Whether this is unsafe braking technique or driving too fast for the conditions, not driving appropriately for the weather endangers everyone on the road.

When driving on snow and ice, slow down as much as is necessary to maintain control of the vehicle. If you find that there is no safe speed, it may be wise to pull over and wait for plows to pass. Laboring against unsafe weather could cause you to fishtail, spin out, and cause a crash.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounts for about 1-in-10 car crash fatalities. This isn’t always cellphone use. It describes any combination of “highway hypnosis,” eating while driving, listening to loud music, and even talking to passengers.

Distracted driving is a threat, especially in high-risk cities like Buffalo. It’s critical then that all drivers take specific, actionable steps to identify driving distractions and be consciously aware of when they are becoming distracted. It’s a matter of defensive driving, maintaining a heightened awareness of not only your vehicle but those around you.


Buffalo has a long history of DUI-related crashes, and it’s getting worse. Fatal DUI crashes in the Nickel City have increased by 30% over the past three years. At 2.17 fatalities per 100,000 people, Buffalo has the highest rate of DUI crashes in Western New York.

Dealing with the aftermath of any severe car crash can be traumatizing, especially after the loss of a loved one. If you lost someone you love in a car crash, you can pursue justice with the assistance of the experienced car accident attorneys at Richmond Vona, LLC. Our team will stand beside you in your time of need and fight on your behalf so you can start the road to recovery and plan a way forward. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.


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