The roads aren't always safe, and 2021 proved especially deadly, with over 42,000 people losing their lives behind the wheel. The statistics paint a grim picture and they tell us something else: driving is more dangerous during specific times of day, week, and year.
Knowing when the roads are most deadly — and avoiding driving or being especially cautious then — is the best way to stay safe. Remember, you could follow every driving rule and still get into an accident if other drivers are being reckless!
The Most Dangerous Time of Day to Drive
The most dangerous time to be on the road is between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. during the spring and summer, and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. during the fall and winter months. Why? It's simple: driving at night brings a lot of challenges, namely lower visibility and the unavoidable end-of-day tiredness.
What Day of the Week Is Most Deadly?
Saturdays regularly see the most crashes every year. If you think about it, it makes sense. Drivers are out and about enjoying the start of the weekend, maybe still tired from a long work week, and sometimes indulging in alcohol and other substances before jumping behind the wheel. Next time you need to go somewhere on a Saturday, be sure to avoid common mistakes new teen drivers make.
What Is the Most Accident-Prone Month?
The most deadly month in 2021 was October, closely followed by August, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than 4,000 people lost their lives during each of those months — that's almost 135 people dying on the roads every day.
Are Holidays Really More Deadly?
Yes, there are more accidents on celebrated holidays than during regular workdays and weekends. For 2021, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates Thanksgiving was the deadliest holiday.
It isn't hard to see why: tens of thousands of Americans will drive several hours to spend their special day with their families. In northern climates, temperatures will have plummeted by then, and there may be icy or snowy roads ahead. Even in more southern climates, rain is always a possibility — and a danger.
Most Dangerous Season for Driving
Summer is by far the most dangerous driving season. Millions of families go on road trips, friends get together for lively parties (often with alcohol), and teens are off school and on the road.
There are more crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day than during any other season. It's why "The 100 Deadliest Days" is a label that's stuck. In 2021, the label didn't go away: nearly 12,000 people died on the road during the summer, according to the NHTSA.
Where Am I Most Likely to Crash?
Urban arterial roads are the most dangerous, as that's where 35% to 40% of all fatal accidents happen. It's not that surprising when you consider that these are the busiest roads in the country.
One Easy Way to Stay Safe: Defensive Driving
Now you know when accidents are most likely to happen. But that doesn't mean you can only stay safe by steering clear of the road. Defensive driving classes will teach you invaluable decision-making and accident-reducing tips so you can go on living your life without becoming a sad statistic. By the end of the course, you'll be ready to deal with aggressive drivers and unexpected weather conditions, as well as avoid the most common car accident fatalities.