It is a widely-held belief that New Year’s Eve is the most dangerous night of the year for motorists traveling on the roadways. This belief most likely stems from the idea that revelers ringing in the New Year drink copious amounts of champagne and alcohol and then get behind the wheel, posing a danger to themselves and others.
But are the wee hours of New Year’s Day actually the most dangerous day for fatal and catastrophic car accidents?
Believe it or not, New Year’s Day does not actually see the greatest number of auto accident-related deaths. Actually, the wintery months of December and January aren’t even the most deadly time of the year for accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more people are killed in auto accidents in August than any other month of the year.
Additionally, the early morning hours do not actually have more fatalities than daylight hours. In fact, according to the IIHS, the highest average of people killed in auto accidents occurs between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Granted, when you put it into perspective of the number of fatalities versus the number of people on the road, the actual fatality rate is higher between midnight and 4 a.m.
Interestingly enough, according to IIHS, the Fourth of July is actually the most dangerous of the year for driving. More people are killed in auto accidents on July 4 than any other single day of the year.
But that does not mean that caution can be thrown to the wind this holiday weekend. More accidents generally occur over holiday weekends than non-holiday weekends, so it is important to exercise care when traveling this weekend – at any point. Have a happy and safe New Year!
Related resource: Forbes, “In Depth: Most Dangerous Times to Drive.”