Despite the substantial drop in traffic and the overall rate of car accidents, the number of traffic fatalities continues to rise each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there have been fewer car accidents, but more were deadly crashes, with a higher percentage resulting in at least one fatality.
The NHTSA data shows that close to half of all fatal car accidents are caused by one of several common denominators, including speeding, impaired driving, and failure to wear a seat belt. The same data has also helped determine when fatal car accidents are most likely to happen.
It is reasonable to assume that nighttime driving is the most dangerous due to lower visibility and an increased likelihood of impaired, fatigued, and distracted driving. Research reflects that is not always the case, with the day of the week playing a more significant role. Understanding the common factors that contribute to fatal car accidents can help you avoid them.
Generally, the likelihood of getting into a fatal car crash increases with each day of the week. The rate of fatal car accidents gradually increases until Saturday, which is the most dangerous driving day of the week. The second riskiest day for driving is Friday, followed by Sunday. After the weekend, the traffic fatality rate drops back down to its lowest on Monday.
The time of the year also plays a part in determining when a fatal car accident is more likely to occur. The summer months are the most dangerous, with August being the deadliest. September is a close second, followed by June.
Teenage drivers should be aware that from Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. The number of car crashes with fatalities involving teenage drivers is consistently at its highest during these months.
Holiday seasons and weekends play a significant role in determining dangerous driving times. The increase in number drivers on the road traveling to celebrate with family and friends means an increase in car accidents and fatalities.
According to the most recent data, Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous time of year for driving. It is no surprise that New Year’s is next on the list of deadliest holidays, with the number of people out late at parties skyrocketing.
Thanksgiving weekend is another dangerous time for driving, with it being the busiest travel holiday of the year. Families and students travel frequently to get togethers across the country, increasing the level of traffic and number of young drivers on the road. It is important to plan ahead, leave early for your destination, and stay alert to various weather conditions over Thanksgiving weekend.
Even though July is not in the top three, the Fourth of July is always one of the deadliest days of the year. It is advisable to avoid the roads as much as possible on that date due to the number of impaired drivers and level of heavy traffic at night.
Labor Day weekend is the fifth most dangerous time, largely because this holiday is known as the weekend of the summer season. More travelers are choosing to take to the roads these days rather than travel by plane. This could be due to the increase in airfare in recent years.
Christmas, including Christmas Eve, is the next most dangerous time for driving. Outside factors, such as the day of the week the holiday falls on and specific weather conditions, may also determine how many car crashes and fatalities occur.
Alcohol plays a role in approximately 40 percent of fatal car crashes that happen on holidays and over holiday weekends. If you choose to celebrate the holiday at a social gathering involving alcohol, be sure to get a safe ride home, such as Uber or a designated driver. It is imperative that you never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Winter is the most dangerous season for driving. Snow and ice leave road conditions hazardous, particularly for inexperienced drivers and those sharing the road. The first day of a snowstorm is by far the riskiest for being on the roadways. Generally, the cold winter season does not bring as many car accidents and fatalities as the very first day of snow.
What Time of the Day Is the Most Dangerous?
Fatal car crashes are more frequent on weekends, peeking on Saturdays. The number of non-fatal car accidents is more likely to be higher on weekdays, peaking on Fridays. However, the time of day proves to be an important factor for both fatal and non-fatal car accidents, with the peak dangerous time period being 4:00 p.m. to 7:59 p.m. for both.
Peak fatal crash times vary substantially over the course of a year. During the spring and summer months, the most fatal car accidents occur between 8:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. In contrast, a higher number of non-fatal car accidents happen earlier in the day during the summer, from noon to 4:59 p.m. From October to March, the most common time for fatal car crashes is between 4:00 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.
On Mondays, the most dangerous time for fatal car accidents is between 3:00 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. Starting on Tuesday and going into Friday, the time shifts to between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. as being the most dangerous period for car accident fatalities. On Friday, the time period from 9:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. is equally as dangerous. Saturday night is the most dangerous day and time for driving all week, with the number of fatal car accidents peaking from 9:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. The dangerous time period follows into the early Sunday morning hours, with the most fatal car crashes occurring on Sundays from midnight to 2:59 a.m.
Nighttime Car Accidents
Nearly half of fatal car accidents occur at night, according to the NHTSA. This is despite the fact that only about 25 percent of motor vehicle travel actually takes place during the nighttime hours. It is clear that your chances of being involved in a fatal car accident substantially increase when you are on the road at night. There are several contributors to this increased risk, including:
- Driver intoxication: There is a vast difference between the number of alcohol-related fatal car crashes during the day and at night. Impaired driving is a major nighttime risk.
- Speeding: Speeding is always a leading cause of fatal car crashes. This tends to be a serious issue at night, likely due to less congested roads. Speeding is a factor in nearly twice the number fatal car crashes at night when compared to daytime hours.
- Low visibility: Nighttime drivers are unable to see beyond a short distance ahead, making it difficult to detect other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, as well as any potential hazards on the road.
- Driver fatigue: Motorists driving late at night are more likely to be tired. When drivers fall asleep at the wheel, the outcome is often devastating and fatal.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a car accident and harmed because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. A skilled and knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you navigate what can be a complex legal process and ensure that the accident is thoroughly investigated and all valid claims are filed.
If you have lost a family member due to a fatal car accident, a lawyer can assist with a wrongful death claim.
Hunt Valley Car Accident Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Will Protect Your Rights
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, or your loved one was killed in a collision, do not hesitate to contact one of our Hunt Valley car accident lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we represent clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.