Organizations all over the world collect enormous amounts of data on motor vehicle accidents. The goal of data collection isn’t just to keep tabs on the human and economic losses surrounding car accidents, but to try to prevent accidents by understanding how and why they happen. One factor that could help you avoid an accident is the time of year. Find out the most likely time for a car accident based on time of year to keep your family safer on Montana’s roadways.

Does Time of Year Matter for Montana Drivers?

Montana residents might assume the deepest months of winter – December or January – are the most dangerous for drivers. These are the months that often see heavy snowfall, sleet, and ice, as well as the greatest holiday traffic. Yet statistically, the most dangerous month for drivers nationwide is August, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Crash data the NHTSA analyzed over the years shows that August reports the highest number of serious car accidents and related fatalities. In fact, one year there were 2,818 U.S. road fatalities in January, but 3,612 in August. Although researchers can’t pinpoint an exact reason why August appears to be deadlier than other months, it could be the difference between fall and winter. More people are on the roads in August than in the heart of winter; especially in snowy states like Montana.

Fall might be the deadliest time of year for drivers, but what about time of day, or day of the week? Crash data shows that Saturday has the highest number of traffic accidents deaths, with an average of 158 fatalities. The most dangerous time of day to be on the road is between midnight and 4:00 a.m., with the highest number of deaths per people on the road.

Other dangerous times of day are 5-6 p.m. and 6-7 p.m., most likely due to heavier rush-hour traffic. Nighttime drives from midnight Saturday to the early-morning hours on Sunday are the riskiest time to drive. Despite the statistics, it’s important to be cautious and careful when driving at any time of year, week, or day. A Montana car accident can happen at any time, day or night. Avoiding the roads at certain times may decrease your risk, but nothing beats safe driving.

When Do the Most Truck Accidents Happen?

Commercial truck accident statistics also identify specific dates and times that seem to attract more collisions than others. In 2016, the greatest number of fatal accidents involving large trucks happened on Wednesdays (696 fatal crashes, or 18%), according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Other weekdays aren’t far behind: Monday (17.4%), Friday (16.9%), and Thursday (16.6%).

These are numbers that have remained relatively consistent year after year. Weekends have been historically safer in terms of U.S. truck accidents. The most dangerous time of day for truck accidents is between noon and 3:00 p.m., accounting for 16.9% of fatal truck accidents in 2016. Daytime, in general, is more dangerous than nighttime in terms of truck accident probability (63.3% vs. 36.7%, respectively). The safest time of day appears to be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with just 7.4% of fatal truck accidents taking place during these times.

Decrease Your Risk of a Car Accident in Montana

The facts show that drivers may be at an increased risk of collisions in fall, at night, and on the weekends. However, drivers risk their lives every time they get behind the wheel. Times of the year don’t cause most accidents; people do. No matter when you decide to hit the road, do so with safety as your top priority. Obey roadway rules, keep your actions predictable, and be polite to other drivers to avoid dangerous situations.

If you do get into a car accident in Billings, waste no time in hiring a Billings motor vehicle accident attorney to defend your rights. To schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation with one of the experienced Billings personal injury attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC, contact our office today.