If you work a first-shift job or run errands while your children are in school every day, you might be out on the road during one of the most dangerous times of the day.
Some people think that the riskiest time to be on the road is early in the morning when people aren’t fully awake yet. Others might think of late at night, when drivers are more likely to feel drowsy or possibly be on the way home after having a few drinks at the bar.
There are certain times of day when your risk for a motor vehicle collision noticeably increases, and your daily commute or the trip home from school with your children might fall into one of those most dangerous times of the day.
Why is the afternoon so dangerous?
In general, the afternoon rush hour tends to be the most dangerous time of day to be on the road, although it does vary a bit based on the day of the week and even the month of the year. According to an analysis of crash data provided by the National Safety Council, more crashes tend to occur between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. than at any other time of day.
There are several reasons why the afternoon rush hour is particularly dangerous. People who have already been at work for a long shift may experience a mid-afternoon energy slump which will affect their ability to focus while driving.
Drivers might send text messages to their spouses or children to talk about when they will arrive home or the child’s school. Professionals may multitask on the way home, fielding phone calls or dictating emails. There are also always those rare few who slip out for happy hour at the end of the day and then drive home after downing a couple of low-priced drinks.
How can this information keep you safer?
Simply knowing that more crashes occur at certain times of the day could help you make better choices about when you drive or schedule certain activities. Minimizing your presence on the road during the most dangerous time of day may not be a realistic goal, but you can avoid the most dangerous roads or busiest highway routes after 4 p.m. and into the early evening.
You could also make a point of leaving a little extra space around your vehicle during times with higher crash risk and actively avoiding distractions and chemical impairment during this more dangerous time of day. Understanding what causes many car crashes can reduce your risk of causing one.