If you asked the average person if their morning commute was more dangerous or their afternoon commute was, many people might choose their morning commute as the riskier drive. After all, they may feel more stressed as they drop the kids off at school and head to work. They may report feeling tired, since they recently woke up, or distracted by everything they need to accomplish during the day.
However, statistics show that the opposite is actually the case. Your afternoon commute back home after a long day at work is more dangerous than the drive into your workplace every morning. Understanding when it is most dangerous to be on the road can help you make better choices when you drive.
Late afternoon and early evening are dangerous times
When you look at the year as a whole, the time between 4 in the afternoon and 7 at night is when it is most dangerous to be on the road. During that time, both fatal and nonfatal crash rates increase. The specific time of day when fatal or non-fatal crashes does change from season to season, but the afternoon spike persists all year.
Over the course of a full year, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. is overall the most dangerous time of day to be on the road. There are many factors contributing to the late afternoon spike in crash risk. Teenage drivers getting out of school is one issue. Exhausted workers dealing with a slump in energy are another. Those stopping off at happy hour after work also contribute to everyone’s crash risk. There is also something to be said for the overall volume of traffic during those late afternoon and early evening hours.
How can this information help you?
Obviously, you can’t avoid driving home from work or needing to drop your kids off for softball practice during what is statistically the most dangerous time to drive, but you can change your habits when you know your risk is higher than usual.
Making a point of actively avoiding distraction and engaging in defensive driving tactics when risk is at its peak could help you effectively avoid a motor vehicle collision. Employing the best safety practices can reduce your risk of a crash and help you more easily prove that you are not to blame if you ever do experience a serious wreck.