All-Wheel Drive and Winter-Weather Safety

It is frequently stated that people living in northern states, the so called Snowbelt, benefit with respect to safety from driving all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles as opposed to front or rear-wheel drive only. The objective of this project is to study if that is true, through 'objective' crash analysis. Undoubtedly, four-wheel and all-wheel drive give better mobility; however, vehicles stop no quicker because of all-wheel drive, and drivers may feel more confident in all-wheel drive vehicles, leading to higher speeds. The net result could be that winter driving with all-wheel drive leads to more crashes, or to more serious injuries. There is a definite lack of objective studies on this. The purpose of this project is to study winter-weather versus summer-weather safety (dry and wet roads separately) of vehicles by make and model; dependent on if they are two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The safety will be analyzed separately with respect to curves and straight segments. The influence of driver age will also be looked at. Furthermore, the project will also study exposure at a number of locations in Maine, urban as well as rural. The project will record the frequency of different vehicle types in different weather by studying makes and models with 'known' drivetrain types. Access to 'all' crashes from the last 20 years in Maine will allow the use of statistical modeling to analyze relationships.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Principal Investigators:

      Garder, Per

    • Start Date: 20100901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20120831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 29324

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480734
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, UMER23-1
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:01AM