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Does Time of Day Affect Car Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 34. In addition to claiming more than 40 000 lives annually in this country alone, car accidents are responsible for a multitude of serious injuries, including brain injuries, burn injuries, broken bones, lacerations, spinal cord injuries and other injuries.

Most drivers know that safe driving practices can help reduce the risk of car accidents, but does the time you drive affect your risk of being in a car crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims in does. According to them, Saturday is the most dangerous day to drive and August is the most dangerous month for drivers hoping to avoid a car crash. To some extent, this is rather surprising news, since August offers fewer of the weather challenges that beset much of the country in winter months.

In January 2008, there were 2 818 road fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, while in August of the same year there were 3,612. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides no clear-cut explanations for why August tends to see so many accidents, the large number of young drivers on the road may help to explain some of the accidents. Fairly good weather during the month and plenty of people on the roads taking care of back-to-school errands and last-minute trips before the onset of the school year may mean more traffic on the roads.

In addition, accident rates spiked after sundown, when instances of speeding and drunk driving increased at night as well. Across the country, 49% of fatal car accidents occur at night, and in these crashes victims are usually not wearing seat belts. The safest time to drive is between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. when only a fraction of the car traffic is on the roads. Fewest car crashes occurred during this hour stretch. During the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays see the smallest number of car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The weekends experience much higher numbers of accidents, most likely because more drivers are on the roads.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration experts, about 95% of car accidents occur due to human error, which makes most accidents highly preventable. Experts say that drivers can reduce the chances of a car accident at any time of year by:

1) Adjusting driving to the conditions. Bad weather does cause car crashes. If you are driving at night in an area where visibility is poor, give yourself more time. Similarly, slow down if you are in an unfamiliar area or are driving in a storm or on slippery streets. Going the posted speed limit in these conditions might be going too fast, leaving you vulnerable to an accident.

2) Not speeding. Speeding plays a role in 30% of all fatal car accidents, some research suggests. Driving without speeding is crucial.


3) Wearing a seatbelt. In many fatal car accidents, victims were not wearing a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt greatly increases your chances of surviving a car crash, and can help reduce the seriousness of any injury. Even in the event of a minor fender bender, passengers and drivers may be injured if they are not wearing seat belts.

4) Limiting distractions. Mobile devices, CD changers, headphones, cell phones, even distractions from other drivers can reduce response times and can make drivers make potentially fatal mistakes. When in the car, keep your focus on the road. If you need to find a CD, take a call, text a message, or do something else that requires your attention, pull over.