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The Deadliest Times to Drive Might Surprise You

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The after-work rush hours between 4 pm and 7 pm, as well as weekends and holidays, are the deadliest times on the road for American drivers.

Deadly Driving Times

According to 2016 vehicle crash studies in the United States, the risks for car accidents and injuries vary from state to state, as well as the time of day, month, and location. 

Certain states have high crash rates, regardless of specific driving times. Mississippi has the highest car crash fatality rate in the country, with an average of 23 deaths per 100,000 drivers on all seven days of the week.

Rush-Hour Traffic

Crash-related fatality studies reveal that drivers increase their risks for deadly car crashes at certain driving times. The deadliest time of the day to drive is in the late afternoon and early evening hours. In 2016, there were 6,201 car crash fatalities between 4 pm and 6:59 pm, busy after-work rush hours, followed by 6,067 fatalities between 7 pm and 9:59 pm. Although a high number of drivers on the road during these times makes accidents more likely, busy morning rush hours between 7 am and 9:59 am had only 3,345 deadly accidents.

Weekend Activities

Weekends also pose high risks for car accident injuries and fatalities. According to studies, Saturday is the most deadly driving day of the week. In 2016, Saturday accounted for nearly 7,000 fatalities, with Fridays close behind at 5,826 fatalities. Crash rates show that the most dangerous time to travel is Saturday night after 10 pm., extending into early morning Sunday hours between 1:00 am and 3:59 am. Many weekend crash fatalities are linked to a higher number of distracted drivers who are talking and texting on cell phones, and drivers impaired by lack of sleep, alcohol and/or drugs which leads to risky driving behaviors. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for 3,450 deaths and 400,000 injuries in 2016.

Holiday Travel

Traffic studies show that drivers often become less attentive to the road during holiday travel times. Many drivers are focused on rushing to holiday events with friends and family. Studies show that drivers get more traffic tickets for speeding and reckless driving before, on, or right after various holidays. The Friday before Labor Day accounts for most deadly car crashes. This is followed by the Friday before Memorial Day, the Friday after Patriot Day, and the Fourth of July.

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