We identify 107 fast, forward-propagating interplanetary shocks observed by the Wind spacecraft from 1995–2000 to examine the influence of shock parameters on geomagnetic disturbances following the shock arrival at Earth. We find that the angle between the shock front normal and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) direction might play a useful role in forecasting the severity of geomagnetic storms occurring within 48 hours from the shock passage. Quasi-perpendicular shocks, i.e. those nearly orthogonal to the IMF direction, constrain IMF components in the plane parallel to the shock front, making it more likely to produce southward IMF. We demonstrate that, regardless of the shock driver, about 40% of forward IP shocks result in intense magnetic storms when the shock normal is almost perpendicular to the IMF, compared to about 10–15% of shocks with normals not perpendicular to the IMF direction.