When Do Car Accidents Happen Most – The Most Dangerous Times
Many drivers wonder when do most car accidents happen to help them understand when it’s most dangerous to be on the road. Car accidents claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year, with 31,785 deaths projected for 2022, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The risk of car accidents increases during the holidays, rush hour periods, and weekends. Taking steps to stay safe on the road when accidents often occur can help keep you safe. If you suffer injuries in a crash in Florida, the auto accident attorneys at Emerson Straw can help you seek compensation for your recovery.
Rush hour refers to the morning period of 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and the evening period of 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and are when most car accidents happen. Aggressive driving, truck driving, bicycle riding, and weather-related conditions increase the risk of crashes and injuries by 41% during rush hour.
The morning rush hour increases the risk of a crash injury by 40%, while the afternoon rush hour increases it by 27%. Nearly 47% of all car accidents in the United States occur during the weekday morning and afternoon rush hours.
Tips for Driving During Rush Hour
Injuries and deaths during rush hour are a serious problem. By following these tips, you can protect yourself and your loved ones while driving during this time of day.
- Leave early. Leave for your destination before rush hour starts and travel on local roads to avoid the worst of the traffic congestion.
- Be patient. While rush hour traffic can be frustrating, staying calm will help you make better decisions and avoid accidents.
- Give yourself plenty of space. When driving during rush hour, give yourself plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. To determine a safe following distance, note a stationary marker ahead of you, such as a traffic pole. Count to four after the car in front of you passes a stationary marker. If you pass it before counting to four, you are following too closely and need to adjust your distance.
Fatal car accidents were more frequent on weekends in 2020, with Saturday being the peak day. Nonfatal crashes were more common on weekdays than weekends, with Friday being the most prevalent. The peak time for fatal and nonfatal crashes was between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.
Alcohol consumption is more common during the weekend due to social gatherings and events, increasing the risk of impaired driving and fatal accidents. In 2020, alcohol-impaired drivers accounted for 27% of all fatal crashes on weekends, compared to 16% of all drivers during the week.
How to Drive Safer on the Weekends
Staying sober and being aware of your surroundings can prevent you from getting into an accident. The following tips can ensure you remain safe on the road during the weekend.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When more people are on the road on weekends, pay attention to your surroundings. Watch out for other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
- Obey the speed limit. The National Highway Safety Administration reported speeding accounted for 29% of fatal accidents in 2020. Make sure you’re driving at a safe speed for the conditions.
- Pace yourself when drinking. Drink responsibly, and don’t go over your limits when it comes to alcohol. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation and drink plenty of water in between drinks.
- Don’t drink and drive. It’s essential to have a contingency plan in case you consume too much alcohol. If you plan to drink, avoid driving and instead consider calling a cab, using public transportation, or arranging for a friend to pick you up.
When do most car accidents happen depends on the time of the day—deaths from motor vehicle collisions peak between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. during the spring and summer. The peak time for fatal crashes from October through March was between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.
Night driving can be more dangerous than during daylight hours due to the limitations of headlights and reduced visibility. Even with high-beam headlights, visibility is limited to about 500 feet, and standard headlights only shine about 250 feet. The limited visibility can make it harder for drivers to react to road obstacles, particularly at high speeds.
Drivers may be more tired at night, leading to slower reaction times and impaired decision-making. Crashes resulting from drowsy driving are most common from midnight to 6 a.m. and often involve single-vehicle accidents on rural roads.
There may be more impaired drivers on the road at night, which can increase the risk of accidents caused by drunk or drugged driving. Nighttime alcohol-impaired driving fatalities are 3.1 times more than daytime fatal accidents.
Nighttime Driving Tips
Ensuring you get enough rest and taking more safety precautions can ensure you stay safe as you drive at night, using these tips:
- Get enough rest before driving at night. Ensure you get plenty of sleep before a long night trip.
- Use your high beams. High-beam headlights can illuminate the road surface farther ahead and make things easier to see. In low-lit spaces like rural highways or open roads, feel free to use your bright lights if the road is clear ahead of you and you don’t see any oncoming traffic.
- Drive slower and use your turn signals. Drive more slowly to give yourself more time to identify obstacles and respond to road conditions. Use your turn signals and give other drivers plenty of time to react when you make a turn. If necessary, drive below the speed limit.
Due to increased travel and tourism during the summer, there is an increase in vehicle miles traveled and car accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), July, August, and October have the highest number of fatal car accidents, while January and February tend to experience the fewest car accident fatalities.
People also consume alcohol during outdoor events, leading to impaired judgment and an increased risk of accidents. In 2020, alcohol-impaired driving caused 10% of crashes from June to August. There were more speeding drivers from May to September than during the colder months of November to February.
Teenagers are driving more frequently and for more extended periods during the summer. However, their driving behavior, such as joyriding, poses a significant risk of crashes. A AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that teens driving with other teens in the vehicle increase the fatality rate by 51%.
Driving Tips for Summer to Keep You Safe
Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic before you set out on your next summer trip. The following tips can also help you and your family stay safe on the road during the warmer months.
- Drive defensively. Defensive driving means watching out for unexpected situations, such as tailgating. You must also restrict cell phone usage while driving and pay attention to the local and state limits.
- Set rules for teen driving. Ensure your teen driver understands the rules of the road and the dangers of distracted driving. For example, you can limit the number of passengers in your teen driver’s car or the hours they can drive at night.
- Be a role model. Show your teen how to drive safely by following the rules of the road and being courteous. You can also encourage your teen to take a defensive driving course to help them learn how to avoid accidents.
The holidays are when most car accidents happen around the country. The NHTSA reports that fatal car accidents increase during the holidays due to increased travel times, alcohol consumption, and speeding. In 2020, the NSC noted that 49% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver during New Year’s Day, the highest percentage among all major holidays. The number of deaths caused by drunk drivers increased by 41% during Independence Day.
Holiday Driving Safety Tips
Most car accidents happen during the holidays as people rush to their destinations. By planning your journey ahead of time, you can reduce your risk of getting into an accident and enjoy a stress-free holiday.
- Stay focused on the road. Sending or reading a text while driving, even for five seconds, is like driving blindfolded for the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. Avoid getting distracted by your phone, social media, or anything else that takes your attention away from the road.
- Plan for on-time arrival. No matter how hectic a holiday can become, give yourself adequate time to get to your destination, especially if the weather is adverse. Drive safely and avoid unnecessary risks by not speeding or cutting corners.
- Designate a driver. When you plan to drink at a holiday party, ask a friend or a family member to be a designated driver who will stay sober and take you home safely. A designated driver ensures everyone has a good time without risking other drivers’ safety.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney
It’s crucial to be aware of the most dangerous times for car accidents and take necessary precautions to stay safe on the road. Remember, when most car accidents happen varies depending on the time of year, so always remain vigilant and drive defensively.
If you become involved in a motor vehicle crash any time of the year, the car accident attorneys at Emerson Straw can help you navigate the legal process and get a fair settlement.
Contact us to book a free consultation.