What Time of Day Are Car Accidents Most Likely to Happen?
Fact checked by Clayton Hasbrook J.D. | Updated on March 21, 2016
It may sound far-fetched to suggest that certain months, days, or hours could be more dangerous for driving, but crash statistics indicate otherwise. Our lawyers combed through the most recent data available from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office to pick out which times of day, days of the week, and months of the year had the highest rates of crashes and collisions.
Does Time of Day Affect the Likelihood of a Car Accident Occurring?
If statistics are any indication, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. However, the data paints a somewhat surprising picture.
You would probably expect the highest number of accidents to occur at night, when drivers are tired, contending with reduced visibility, and sometimes, returning home intoxicated from parties and bars. However, OHSO crash records actually indicate that the vast majority of crashes and collisions take place during the day. In fact, OHSO found that daytime accidents were just over three times more likely to occur than nighttime accidents. Unexpectedly, OHSO data also indicates that the amount of lighting has virtually no impact on the frequency of nighttime crashes, with a slim difference of just 282 accidents between crashes with lighting and crashes without lighting.
The following statistics are sourced from the 2014 OHSO report on statewide crashes, the most recent data available:
- Daylight – 49,455 crashes
- Darkness – 7,796 crashes (with lighting), 8,078 crashes (without lighting), 205 crashes (lighting unknown)
Dusk and dawn had similar accident rates. Accidents were only slightly more likely to occur during dusk, with a difference of 333 crashes:
- Dawn – 1,001 crashes
- Dusk – 1,334 crashes
These statistics are remarkably consistent with data from the previous year. In both 2013 and 2014, daylight crashes were exactly 3.1 times more likely to occur than nighttime crashes. 2013 also saw a similar gap of 479 accidents between dawn and dusk crashes, with accidents again more likely to occur during dusk than dawn.
OHSO further breaks down the data into which hours of the day were most prone to crashes. The fewest number of accidents by a considerable margin, with a total of 565 crashes, occurred between the hours of 4:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M. By comparison, 11 times more accidents – a total of 6,413 crashes – were reported between the hours of 5:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M., when most Oklahomans are driving home from work.
OK Drivers Are Most Likely to Crash on Fridays in October
It isn’t just the time of day that impacts your likelihood of getting into an accident – it’s also the day of the week, and even the month of the year. OHSO found that in 2014, more accidents occurred during October (6,316) than any other month. At the other end of the spectrum, accidents were least likely to occur during the month of February, with a total of 5,265 crashes reported. Despite having only three more days than February in 2014, October still saw 1,051 more accidents.
This may be partially attributable to the increased frequency of drunk driving accidents around Halloween. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on Halloween nights from 2009 to 2013 nearly 45% of all traffic-related deaths involved drunk driving. To put that figure into perspective, drunk driving fatalities (172 total) accounted for only 25.7% of overall drunk driving fatalities in Oklahoma in 2014 (669 total).
The other months ranked in the following order, from most to fewest accidents:
- November – 6,065 crashes
- December – 5,994 crashes
- May – 5,993 crashes
- September – 5,856 crashes
- August – 5,855 crashes
- April – 5,598 crashes
- March – 5,465 crashes
- July – 5,366 crashes
- June – 5,282 crashes
- January – 5,272 crashes
Likewise, certain days of the week turned out to be more accident-prone than others; but again, the statistics are somewhat surprising. You might guess that accidents would tend to occur on weekends, when people are more likely to travel, run errands, and drink – but in fact, Saturdays and Sundays actually saw the lowest numbers of crashes. This may be due to the high accident rate during commuting hours, with more crashes occurring during 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. than any other time of day. According to OHSO data, the safest day for drivers is Sunday, with more accidents occurring on Friday than any other day of the week. Days of the week ranked in the following order:
- Friday – 11,793 crashes
- Wednesday – 10,447 crashes
- Thursday – 10,384 crashes
- Tuesday – 10,191 crashes
- Monday – 10,022 crashes
- Saturday – 8,490 crashes
- Sunday – 7,000 crashes
We Have The Experience Needed For Your Case
Unfortunately, drivers can’t always control the risk factors that increase the likelihood of getting into an accident. However, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. If you or one of your loved ones was injured in an accident due to another driver’s careless actions behind the wheel, call Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 for a free and confidential legal consultation.