Successful professionals in Rhode Island often embrace the fact that they must commute to work every day. They wake up early and drive to work. After a long day on the job, they transport themselves back home. Generally speaking, people simply accept the expense involved and time lost during a commute as part of the trade-off involved in securing a decent job.
What they may fail to consider is how they could very well be on the road during one of the most dangerous times of the day. First-shift workers, in particular, may have an elevated risk of a crash during their commute home after work.
Some times of day see more crashes than others
The National Safety Council (NSC) helps analyze data about injuries and fatalities to guide public policy. The NSC also provides reports to the public to help them make smarter, safer choices. Overall, the NSC recognizes that nighttime is the most dangerous time to drive. People on the road after dark are more likely to get involved in crashes. That is as true for pedestrians as it is for motorists.
However, there is another time of day that also sees a marked increase in crash risk. The afternoon rush hour on weekdays is the second most dangerous time to be on the road. The hours between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on weeknights tend to see more crashes and worse crashes than other times of day.
There are many factors that contribute to the risk inherent in an afternoon commute. Distraction caused by people calling their family members or responding to late emails from work is one issue. Drunk drivers headed home after happy hour is another consideration. Finally, fatigue caused by a long day at work could also contribute to afternoon crash risk.
Obviously, people don’t want to give up good jobs or start working late night shifts just to stay off the road during rush hour. Still, they may want to change the routes they take or adjust their driving habits so that they don’t negatively contribute to afternoon rush hour crash statistics.