More than 40,000 people are killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes every year. That’s about 110 people daily throughout the nation.
Motor vehicle traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for all Americans between 2 and 34 years of age, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
What times are the worst for traffic accidents?
Forbes magazine calculated the most dangerous times to drive using crash reports from the administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Study. Its researchers also examined studies from the University of California at Berkeley’s Traffic Safety Center.
Knowing when the most fatal traffic collisions occur can help consumers make decisions on when to stay off the roads.
Time of day also is important when considering traffic safety because other dangerous factors increase at night: drunk driving, speeding, and driving without a seat belt, the Forbes article reports.
Most dangerous times to drive:
- Daytime hours. An average of 6.6 people are killed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., with another 6.6 killed between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. These are the highest daytime rates.
- At night. Midnight to 4 a.m. have the highest number of fatalities when calculated as a percentage of the amount of people on the road; 5.87 per 100 million people.
- Day of the Week. Saturday has the highest total number of fatalities, with an average of 158 each Saturday.
- Month. August had the most total deaths on the road in 2008 with a total of 3,612.
- Day of the year. July 4, Independence Day, is the most dangerous day of the year to drive. In 2007, 926 people were killed in auto accidents on July 4.
- Holiday weekend. Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday weekend on the road, when daily totals are averaged over a several-day period around the holiday.
Other activities that can increase your risk of having a fatal traffic crash:
- Cell phone usage. Using a cell phone while driving nearly quadruples the risk of crashing.
- Speeding. In 2006, 32 percent of fatalities were directly related to speeding.
- Seatbelt unbuckled. Fifty-five percent of traffic fatalities in 2006 didn’t wear a seatbelt. Seventy-one percent of those fatalities occurred between midnight and 3 a.m.
- Driving drunk. More than 12,995 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2007. Alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was four times higher at night than during the day – 36 percent versus 9 percent.
- First day after a snowstorm. The first snowy day of the year is more dangerous for drivers than other snow days in terms of fatalities. Fatal accidents were 14 percent more likely on the first snowy day of the season compared with later ones.
Drive safely, especially with winter weather beginning to descend upon us.
Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Journalist