Car accidents are a major cause of injury and death in the United States, with 32,719 people losing their lives in traffic collisions in 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can help protect yourself by knowing the most dangerous times to be on the road.
Ice and snow can create hazardous road conditions, and it is important to use care or stay off the road during inclement weather. However, the winter months are not when the greatest number of accidents occur. In fact, the most dangerous month for car accidents is August. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,612 people died in August 2008. When measured as fatalities per 100 million vehicles, August had a fatality rate of 1.42.
Even in areas of the country that get a large amount of snow, like Chicago, Illinois, winter is not the most dangerous time to drive, and in fact fatalities actually drop in the winter. That is because people are more likely to stay home when there is snow, and because people who are on the road are driving slower due to inclement weather. Fewer cars on the road and slower speeds means that there are fewer accidents overall in the winter. There is an exception to that rule, however: On the first day after a major snowstorm, accidents are more likely, because drivers have not yet adjusted to snowy roads.
Regarding times of the week, weekends are the most dangerous time to drive, with Saturday accounting for more accidents than any other day. There is more traffic on the roads on weekends, and therefore more crash victims. According to the IIHS, there are 143 average deaths nationwide on a typical Saturday and Sunday combined.
Time of day plays an important role in the rate of traffic accidents as well, with the fatality rate during nighttime hours about three times as high as daytime hours. In addition to decreased visibility, nighttime brings an increase in drunk driving and a decrease in the use of seat belts.
Remember to protect yourself by avoiding high-risk driving situations, obeying traffic laws, wearing your seat belt and never driving while impaired, fatigued or distracted. If you are injured in a car accident that is someone else’s fault, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
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