Most Dangerous Times for Driving

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Protecting the safety of yourself and your passengers is the number one priority for any driver. Even if you’re 100% sure that you are the safest driver on the whole planet, don’t forget about other drivers whose behind-the-wheel recklessness can lead to collisions. Unfortunately, you can’t control others and their irresponsible behavior. But if you know the most dangerous driving circumstances, you can adjust your schedule to avoid the times and stretches of road that increase your risk.

The following information, collected by the  NHTSA and AAA, is based on the number of fatalities on the road. You should always be safe and alert when you’re behind the wheel, but these are some specific situations when you should give your full attention to the road and drive as carefully as possible.

The Most Dangerous Time of the Day to Drive

The most dangerous time of the day on the road is the two hours from 5 pm to 7 pm. During evening rush hour, the roads are congested. Commuters who are tired after working all day and want to get home as soon as possible make the road a dangerous place. 

However, there’s another way to look at the most dangerous time of day to drive. Going by the highest percentage of fatalities per total amount of people on the road, the deadliest hours are from midnight to 4 am.

The Most Dangerous Day of the Week to Drive

Saturdays! Beware of Saturdays! According to sources, the average number of traffic fatalities on the first day of the weekend is 158 people. This is almost twice the number of fatalities that occur on an average weekday.

Most Dangerous Month for Driving

The NHTSA reports that August is the most menacing month of the year for drivers, closely followed by September and June. A special warning for juvenile drivers: be aware the whole summer season period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is called the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens and not without a reason. Having fun during your long summer vacation is of course going to happen, but don’t forget about the driving safety rules that you’ve learned in drivers ed.

The Most Dangerous Date to Drive On

On the Fourth of July, you should leave your car in a garage, or keep your wits about you if you have to get behind the wheel. Independence Day has continued to be one of the most dangerous driving days for decades. The Fourth of July brings catastrophic consequences for a lot of road users. According to IIHS data more than 900 people die in Fourth of July car collisions every year.

The Most Dangerous Holiday Weekend for Driving

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, with families from all across the country traveling to get back together. That makes Thanksgiving weekend one of the most dangerous times for driving. Plan ahead, stay alert and be prepared for winter driving conditions on your next Thanksgiving weekend.

Most Dangerous Season for Driving: Winter

The first day of a snowstorm is dangerous for drivers. On a whole the cold season doesn’t bring as many traffic collisions and fatalities as the first day of snow. Fender-benders are 14% more likely to happen on the first day of snow than later in the winter season.

Dangerous Highways to Avoid

It’s estimated that over half of all fatalities occur on rural roads. Meanwhile, highways and interstates are still not the safest places. And according to the researchers at Geotab, the most dangerous highways in the U.S. are:

  1. Highway 1 in Florida - It has the highest fatal crash rate at 2.8.

  2. I-40 in Tennessee - Even though it had a low fatality crash rate, I-40 had the second-highest number of fatal crashes.

  3. US-83 in Texas - This highway has the second-highest fatality crash rate and the fifth-highest for the number of crashes.

  4. I-45 in Texas - The Houston area is the worst spot of I-45, recently named the second most dangerous highway.

  5. I-40 in Arizona, New Mexico and California - This highway is so dangerous it has the highest fatal crash rate in three states with the 3rd, 4th and 5th highest fatal crash rates in the country.

Now that you know the most dangerous times for driving and which highways to avoid, you can control the situation better when you’re behind the wheel. Just don’t forget that collisions aren’t caused by the car or circumstances. They are caused by drivers. And if you don’t feel 100% confident about your driving skills or knowledge, then don’t take chances.

Instead, take an additional step to ensure everyone’s safety on the road by signing up for a  defensive driving program. That way you can learn the newest driving techniques for handling risky situations and how to stay calm even during the most dangerous times on the road.

*This article was updated on 12/2/2020.