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The most (and least) dangerous counties for drivers in Wisconsin

Statistics get a bad rap. Often statistics seem overly negative, and many people distrust them. However, they are one of the primary evidentiary tools that we have, and without them, some vital insights may be lost.

In reviewing five years of crash data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, you can see specific trends that can help you understand safety on highways and roads a little better. You learn things like:

The five most dangerous counties

Of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, the most dangerous – which we will define here as the ones with the most crashes from 2015-2020 – are:

  • Milwaukee
  • Dane
  • Waukesha
  • Racine
  • Outagamie

You will notice that these are among the most populous counties in the state, which makes sense. With more people and more cars, you will get more crashes.

Low population does not necessarily mean safer.

Naturally, as some of the most populous counties have a high number of crashes, five of the least populated counties have far fewer crashes. The counties with the fewest crashes were:

  • Price
  • Pepin
  • Florence
  • Iron
  • Menominee

The definition of safety we’ve used so far in this piece has been looking solely at the number of crashes. However, when divided by population, Florence county, one of the least populated counties in Wisconsin, had one of the highest rates of crash-to-population. Florence’s “crash ratio” was second only to Milwaukee, when compared to the five counties with the highest number of crashes.

Crashes were trending upwards until 2020

Across all the counties, there was a trend of increasing crashes from 2015-2019. These numbers dipped an average of 18% across Wisconsin in 2020. Vernon and Eau Clair counties saw the sharpest drop in accidents with 41.9% and 40% fewer accidents, respectively, in 2020.

Crashes lead to accidents; accidents lead to injures

No matter where you live in Wisconsin, there are risks associated with driving. It does not matter if you are in a highly-populated area or not. However, if you do end up in an accident, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries.

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