As it turns out, summer is not the time to let your guard down on the roads in the desert, regardless of the slow-down in traffic. Despite what many people think of as the most dangerous time to drive, after a snow-storm or on icy roads, August is the most dangerous month for traffic accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Auto accidents are the number 1 cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 34. It has been said that August has the highest rate of fatalities on the road. Forbes covered this issue back in 2009 with statistics from 2008. The same statistic held true in 2009 and also in 2013, when August accounted for 10% of traffic collision fatalities for the year. July beat out August for fatalities a couple times in the years in between.
It isn't just the time of year that can determine risk for being in an accident. There are also times of the day in which drivers are more likely to be in fatal auto accidents. The majority of fatal crashes occur during the afternoon/evening rush hour, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The second most fatal crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. While most people think of late night driving as more dangerous because of the darkness and possibility for tired or impaired drivers, the fewest deadly crashes occurred between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The day of the week also impacts the likelihood of being in a fatal accident. This is a snapshot of the fatal accidents that occurred in the U.S. in 2009:
• Sunday - midnight to 3 a.m. (1,072);
- Monday - 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (687);
- Tuesday - 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (677);
- Wednesday - 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (663);
- Thursday - 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (680);
- Friday - 9 p.m. to midnight (892); and
• Saturday - midnight to 3 a.m. (1,024).
Fatal accidents occur for many reasons and drivers should always be careful when driving. The above is simply a reminder that even though some of the traffic around town has died down, and it stays lighter later, now is not the time to slack off behind the wheel. Keep in mind that the last thing you want to be, is a statistic.