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Statistically, what is the most dangerous time to drive?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

People should anticipate the possibility of a car crash any time that they drive. It only takes one mistake or oversight to lead to a collision that could forever change the course of someone’s life. Drivers can potentially limit their personal risk by identifying known factors that increase the chances of a severe collision.

Most people recognize that using a mobile phone while driving or getting behind the wheel after drinking could be dangerous mistakes. People may also identify certain roads and intersections where crashes seem to occur more frequently than others. Drivers may also benefit from learning about the times when crashes are more likely to occur and have a greater potential of being severe. According to federal collision data, there is one time of day that is far more dangerous than most others for people in traffic.

Crash risk rises after the sun sets

Driving after dark is a dangerous decision, but it is one that many people have to regularly make. Those who work swing shifts or who commit to a second or third-shift schedule may often find themselves commuting to and from work when it is dark outside. Even those who generally maintain a first-shift schedule may have to drive after dark during the winter months or when handling family responsibilities.

Being out on the roads after dark increases someone’s risk of a collision. Visibility issues are one concern. Drivers have a harder time spotting others in traffic, especially pedestrians and cyclists who don’t have headlights to draw a driver’s attention.

Fatigue is another issue. Even if a driver feels well rested, they might cross paths with someone who hasn’t slept in quite some time. Drivers experiencing fatigue or exhaustion often display many of the same impairments that intoxicated drivers show. Additionally, certain types of animals may be more active after dark or during transitional times of day. Finally, there are more impaired driving collisions reported after dark as opposed to during the daytime.

Obviously, motorists can’t just refuse to go out on the road after the sun sets. Still, they can make some adjustments to their behavior for improved personal safety. They can slow down, pay closer attention to the conduct of others and leave more space between vehicles to reduce their chances of a major crash on the nighttime roads.

Learning about the statistics that shed light on the contributing factors to major motor vehicle collisions may help people to make more informed decisions that can help them to stay safer when traveling by road.