Most Dangerous Time to Drive

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Everybody knows that driving can be dangerous, but did you know it can be especially dangerous during specific days of the year? It's true. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 42,000 Americans die from traffic-related accidents each year. But the NHTSA has also gathered statistics on when our roads are the most dangerous.

The 100 Deadliest Days

What has become known as "the 100 deadliest days" are in the summer when people are out and about for holiday travel and vacations. Teens, who may have just started driving, are out of school and on the roads, and warm summer weather means there are more parties to attend, where alcohol plays a factor. There are more car accidents between Memorial Day at the end of May and Labor Day early in September than at any other time of year. Nearly 12,000 people die due to car crashes during those days each year according to the NHTSA.
Besides the summer months, the next most dangerous days to drive are during the major holidays with Thanksgiving topping the list. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that last year 48.7 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles away from home by car during the Thanksgiving holiday. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the deadliest day for DUI related fatalities, up 56 percent over average risk days. Car crash fatalities increased 23 percent last year over the Thanksgiving holidays. Bad weather and snow definitely add to the risk with Thanksgiving and Christmas driving as well.

Most Dangerous Months to Drive

The NHTSA tells us that October is the deadliest month of the year for car accidents, slightly edging out August, when over 4,000 people died last year in automobile-related accidents. As we mentioned, summer and fall offer great times to take advantage of outdoor activities of all kinds and more cars are on the roads during those months from May through October. 

It makes sense when you realize that those are the same months when you have the highest number of vehicles on the roads, traveling the most miles of the year. More cars on the road means more car accidents.
The Deadliest Day
Fridays and Saturdays are the two most dangerous days of the week to drive. "Thank God it's Friday" often leads to weekend partying for some and that can mean drinking and driving on Friday and Saturday nights. While rush hour traffic both before and after work hours shows an uptick during the week, the number of crashes goes up on Friday night, but Saturdays average the highest number of deadly accidents.
The Most Dangerous Time
When it comes to the most dangerous time of day to drive, rush hour after work between 3pm and 6pm is the deadliest time to drive during the week, but the all-time most dangerous time of day to drive is on Saturday night between 9pm and midnight. As you might surmise, alcohol plays a big part in fatalities during that day and time. Driving at night always brings challenges due to lower visibility and driving while overly tired.
Most Dangerous Holidays
The top five most dangerous holidays when it comes to auto accidents all involve travel to holiday gatherings, and often, drinking and driving. Independence Day is the deadliest holiday. According to the NHTSA, over the last decade we average 2,743 car-related deaths each year on July 4th. July 3rd is nearly as bad. Likewise, there is a sharp rise in car accident deaths over the long Labor Day weekend when Americans are getting their party on.
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday each year and the Wednesday before Turkey Day is the busiest travel day. Of course, Christmas and New Years Day round out this deadly list of holidays that claim many lives on the roads of America. Combine winter weather with stressed shoppers and short tempers and you have a date to detonate. As you might guess, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have the lion's share of alcohol-related deaths.
Don't become a Statistic
Lastly, always use your seat belt, don't speed, don't engage in road range, and if you decide to ignore all our advice, please do just one thing for all of us: don't drink and drive. If you are out and drink alcohol, have a designated driver or call a cab or Uber. If you drink, don't drive. At Lithia Motors we care about you and want to keep you as a customer for a very long life.