Working a full-time, first-shift job means that both your income and your daily schedule are typically predictable. You know how much you will make and when you have to be at work. Like many other full-time employees, you may watch the clock as the afternoon approaches, anxiously waiting for the end of your shift.
Unfortunately, the commute home in the afternoon is actually one of the most dangerous times of the day to be out on the road according to federal crash statistics, which means you could end up hurt when all you want is to go home.
Afternoon rush hour is the second most dangerous time on the roads
Factors ranging from the weather to the volume of traffic influence how much risk you have for a crash. A collision could occur anywhere and at any time, but there are some places and times when your risk is higher than average.
Driving after dark is statistically the most dangerous time to be on the road. A significant portion of collisions, including many fatal crashes, occur between sunset and dawn. However, according to the National Safety Council, the afternoon rush hour between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. is another very perilous time to travel by motor vehicle.
The large volume of vehicles on highways and surface streets likely contributes to your crash risk. The possibility of a mid-afternoon energy slump and people falling asleep at the wheel is another concern. Some drivers will stop off at happy hour and could be under the influence, while others will be distracted because they text with family members or friends after leaving their jobs.
Numerous risk factors combine to make it far more likely for you to get into a crash on your way home from work in the afternoon than when you first came to work in the morning.
How can you stay safe during your afternoon commute?
You don’t want to change your work schedule or start riding the bus just so you aren’t driving when your crash risk is higher than usual.
What you can do is be more proactive about your safety during high-risk times, like the afternoon rush hour. You might also want to consider taking a different route home, especially if traffic is quite high on the path that you usually travel. Defensive driving techniques and the right route could do a lot to reduce your risk of getting into a wreck.
Identifying established risk factors for motor vehicle collisions could potentially save your life.