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When is it the most dangerous time of day to drive?

There is a seemingly endless list of hazards that drivers face when they get behind the wheel. It can range from impaired drivers to bad weather to poorly maintained roads. Despite the many variables, the time of day does influence the likelihood of getting involved in a collision. Obviously, crashes can happen at any time, so drivers should always be on the defensive. Nonetheless, an awareness of the increased risk can help drivers make more informed decisions regarding their driving habits.

Data broken down by time

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 33,244 fatal vehicle crashes in 2019 (the most recent year where they have complete data). The ranked segments are:

  • 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (16.9%)
  • 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (15.7%)
  • 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. (15.2%)
  • 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (13.0%)
  • 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. (10.7%)
  • 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (10.1)
  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (9.4%)
  • 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. (8.3%)

Some will undoubtedly be surprised to note that the most common times are from 3 p.m. to midnight, not later when there is a greater chance of drivers being tired. The top two are likely tied to the high volume of vehicles on the road for rush hour and the challenges of driving during dusk when it is difficult to see hazards and obstacles. Also worth noting: Saturday is the most dangerous day for deadly crashes (16.8%), and Wednesdays are the safest (12.7%).

Still not completely safe at any time

It is always best to exercise defensive driving habits when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow this advice. So even the most careful driver still may find themselves injured while commuting or running errands. Fortunately, they have legal options for holding the negligent driver accountable for their actions.

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