It turns out that all days are not created equal, especially when it comes to driving. Statistics clearly show there are a number of days each year when it’s just more dangerous out on the road. While most of these bad driving days fall around a holiday, there are a few surprises that you might not expect. Knowing the most dangerous days & times to drive can help you stay more alert and possibly save your life and those of the people you love.
According to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the most dangerous days to drive (as measured by auto accident fatalities) are the weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Nationwide fatalities were:
The riskiest time to drive occurs during the late afternoon rush hour – 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This should come as no surprise since people are tired, distracted, and in a hurry to get home. Plus, road traffic is at its peak. This period is followed by early evening and early afternoon. Fatal accidents:
This holiday is often considered the start of summer, and in most years, it is a bad day to drive. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 400 people a year die during a typical Memorial Day weekend, and on average there are 13.1 percent more traffic deaths than on a non-holiday weekend.
Booze is a big factor; 44 percent of all traffic fatalities that occur over Memorial Day weekend are alcohol-related.
It is a big driving weekend as well. AAA projected last year that 36.1 million drivers would drive at least 50 miles from home during the weekend. Too many cars on the road, combined with booze-fueled parties and barbecues, results in more accidents and more deaths.
Losing that extra hour of sleep just might raise your insurance rates.
A new study, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Saving Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes” by Austin Smith at the University of Colorado Boulder, found that during the first six days of daylight saving time there were 302 driving-related deaths and associated costs of $2.75 billion over a 10-year period.
Even more surprising, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a division of the NHTSA, discovered a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the shift to daylight saving time.
On any given Black Friday, there are 60 million to 70 million shoppers at the local mall trolling for bargains. All of those cars, combined with too few parking spots, leads to a record number of parking-lot accidents.
Your favorite football team might just get you into a car accident, especially if it loses. A study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that claim frequency around the stadium went up on game day. Increases ranged from 8.2 percent to a whopping 79.7 percent.
A home-team win lessens the increase significantly, with collision claims only rising by 3.2 percent. A loss, on the other hand, led to aggressive driving with accident claims jumping 9.4 percent.
The Christmas holiday season tends to be stressful, and that leads to accidents. Data from the HLDI show that collision claims increase by roughly 20 percent in December. Holiday stress combined with busy roads can lead to more aggressive driving.
This can be the mother of all drinking holidays, which is why it often makes the list of dangerous days to drive. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, a designated driver could be your lucky charm.
The Federal Highway Administration has some sobering statistics about winter driving:
It’s important to understand – as best we can – how traffic generally flows during high volume times. In heavy, stop-and-go traffic where cars are constantly merging, there is an increased risk for accidents. The difference between a collision and getting home safely might be an adjustment in our driving style – from offensive to defensive.
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