Minimizing risk is not about when you are on the road, but how careful you are while on the road. The most dangerous month, is August, and Saturday the most dangerous day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Auto accidents kill more than 40,000 people in the U.S. each year; they are the No. 1 cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 34.
Time of Day Does Matter According to the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, an average 6.6 people are killed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and another 6.6 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Those rates are the overall highest of any time during the day. In 2007, 14,055 people were killed in the 5 p.m. hour. But the hours between midnight and 4 a.m. have the highest number of fatalities when calculated as a percentage of the amount of people on the road, according to AAA. During that time, statistically speaking, 5.87 per 100 million people on the road will be killed.
Time of day plays an important role in evaluating fatal crashes, because other dangerous factors are increased at night. Drunk driving, speeding and driving without a safety belt all increase during the night hours and each factor contributes directly to increased fatality rates.
Speeding is a factor in 30% of all fatal crashes, according to the NHTSA. 18% of fatal crashes during the day are alcohol-related, while 54% of crashes at night are alcohol-related. Two out of three the people killed at night are not wearing a seat belt.
Nationwide, 49% of fatal crashes happen at night, with a fatality rate per mile of travel about three times as high as daytime hours. During the day, the percentage of unrestrained fatalities tends to be under half.
The fewest deaths by crash in 2007, the latest year with complete data, happened early in the morning, between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Those hours see significantly less traffic–only 9% of the average amount during peak hours.
Mid-week days like Tuesday and Wednesday also pose the lowest number of fatalities, both averaging fewer drivers and 96 and 100 deaths per day, respectively. So the answer is if you want to drive without getting killed, limit your driving to Tuesday and Wednesday morning, between 4 and 5 am. Hardly a practical solution to this epidemic.
Weekends–when the greatest number of people are on the road–predictably see the highest numbers of crash victims, with a combined average of 143 deaths for Saturday and Sunday, according to the IIHS.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a licensed Texas Medical Doctor and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.