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How does the time of day affect car accident rates?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Car Crashes |

A serious car accident can happen at almost any time of day; however, certain times carry a higher risk than others. The National Safety Council notes that in 2019, the highest rate of fatal crashes took place on weekends, particularly on Saturdays, when people may travel more often or drive further distances to shop or visit friends and family.

While no one can predict a car accident, remaining aware of when one is more likely to occur can protect motorists and their passengers.


Many non-fatal accidents take place on Fridays, where injuries may still occur. The rate of accidents for this weekday may happen for several reasons, including:

  • Drivers in a hurry to begin their weekend
  • More drivers running after-work errands
  • Reduced attention due to sleepiness/fatigue

Summer evenings

Serious crashes that result in fatality occur more often on summer evenings. This may occur because of an increase in traffic in both urban and rural areas as motorists take advantage of the longer days of the season. Families also tend to travel more during the summer, which may increase the risk of fatal accidents during this time. Non-fatal accidents on summer days usually happen earlier in the day.

Winter afternoons

Car accident rates tend to rise and fall with the beginning and end of daylight savings, and this is likely due to motorists trying to beat the early sunset home once late fall arrives. Accidents during this season tend to take place in midafternoon, with many fatal crashes occurring before 8 p.m.

The data above suggests that most car accidents take place at dusk or after dark, no matter the season. Reduced visibility and increased traffic may contribute to these wrecks.