When people come into my office seeking legal representation it is sometimes interesting to note that they believe that the time of day that they were on the road had nothing to do with their accident. Make no mistake about it, an automobile accident can occur at any possible time, but that does not mean that there is not a significant distinction that determines what the most dangerous time of the day is to be on the road.
Statistics can help here
For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most dangerous month to drive is August and the most dangerous day of the week to drive is Saturday. Considering it is always best to avoid potential problems and that 40,000 people lose their life in car accidents every single year in the United States alone, it is interesting enough to go beyond the numbers and see what he most dangerous time of the day to be driving is.
Going behind the numbers
Using crash reports from AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Forbes magazine determined some of the most dangerous times to be on the road.
The safest time on the road is between 4 and 5 AM, there is only 9% of the average amount of traffic during peak hours on the road at that time, so with less traffic on the road it is predictable that accidents are less likely to occur. The weekends have the highest number of crash victims. This should come as no surprise considering that the greatest number of people are on the road during the weekend.
Even though we may take it for granted, the time of day plays an important role in overall fatal crashes. That is because many of the dangerous factors that go into predicting car accidents are increased later on in the day. For example, instances of driving without a safety belt, speeding, and drunk driving all increase during the night hours. It does not take a mathematician or safety expert to realize that these three factors compound the likelihood of fatal crashes.
- Speeding – According to the NHTSA, speeding plays a factor in 30% of all fatal crashes
- Alcohol – According to the NHTSA, 18% of daytime fatalities are alcohol related. Meanwhile, that number skyrockets to 54% of nighttime fatalities.
- Seat belts – Meanwhile, almost 66% of all fatalities at night involve the victim not wearing his or her seatbelt.
Simple steps to safety
Of course, some people are simply unlucky. However, there is a lot that you can do to increase your overall safety while driving. Sometimes the most straightforward things are the easiest, paying attention to the road, driving the right speed, and wearing a seat belt. Even though these seem straightforward, you would be surprised how many drivers neglect to adhere to these basic principles of road safety.
According to Rae Tyson, a spokesperson for the NHTSA, 95% of all accidents are caused by human error. Meanwhile, when asked, 75% of all drivers suggested that they drove more carefully than other drivers on the road. We can attribute this to a false sense of people’s ability to multitask and a false sense of their own driving abilities. Even though most people believe that they drive safe, an accident can occur in a split second.
So any good advice? Put the cellphone away while you are driving, do not send or receive text messages while behind the wheel and try to keep yourself under 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway. Even such basic steps that most of us would consider ‘standard’ can make a massive difference.