A daily commute is just part of the grind for the average professional. They have to spend hours every week getting to and from their job. Most people view their commute as a boring daily obligation rather than a very real source of personal injury risk.
Yet, a recent review of collisions statistics indicates that the afternoon/evening commute, in particular, is quite dangerous for people. Other than after the sun sets, the hours between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays are the most dangerous time to be on the road in terms of crash risk. What makes rush hour such a dangerous time for people to drive?
1. Distraction on the road
Workers may try to finish personal matters on their way into a shift, such as calling their child’s schools to advise them of an illness or confirming their plans for dinner with family. People on the way home from work might need to finish up a last few business calls or respond to an email from a client that came in after they left the office. Distraction isn’t just related to digital devices but can also involve grooming, drinking a cup of coffee or eating on the way home.
2. Fatigue or drowsy driving
Fatigue is a constant concern on the roads, as those who have gone too long without good rest may display significantly decreased driving skills. During someone’s morning commute, they may cross paths with third-shift workers headed home for the day and other people who didn’t go to bed early enough the night before and are far too tired to safely drive.
The afternoon commute overlaps with a time of day when people naturally experience a slump in energy levels. Drowsy driving is a bigger concern later in the day, especially during the winter months when it may be relatively dark already.
Traffic density is another factor that contributes to the degree of risk during the afternoon rush hour. While drivers can’t avoid working standard shifts that require them to be on the road in the morning and late afternoon, they can at least recognize the risk that comes from driving during these dangerous times of day.
Learning more about risk factors for motor vehicle collisions can help people minimize their personal risk of suffering harm as a result of a crash. This knowledge can also prove useful in the event that a crash does occur, as it may empower injury victims to take legal action against those who were responsible for their harm.