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The Most Common Days and Times for Car Accidents

Law firms that specialize in specific practice areas must have comprehensive knowledge of the circumstances surrounding these events, including the days and timeframe around their standard occurrences. When it comes to winning auto accident leads, for example, the chances of engaging a serious prospect increases if your team can identify the geographic areas, days, and times during which accidents are likely to occur.

car accident on road

Auto Accident Leads: The Most Common Days and Times for Car Accidents

Did you know that only about 1% of accidents occur more than 50 miles from home? This is due to the fact that most drivers are staying close to home for various activities such as running errands, taking the kids to school, going to work, and socializing. More than 50% of accidents take place within five miles of a driver’s home.

Research by Progressive Insurance also pinpoints a parking lot within five miles of a driver’s home to be the most likely location that an accident may occur. There are several reasons that accidents in parking lots are common – two cars may back out simultaneously and rear-end each other, a car looking for a parking space may be going too fast and hit a car that is backing out, and pedestrians may not pay attention to what drivers are doing and vice versa.

Usually these accidents do not involve serious injuries since drivers tend to drive at a much slower pace in parking lots. Law firms may use this information to focus marketing efforts in and around grocery stores and malls with big parking lots to test out whether it brings in more leads.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that overall, most crashes in 2012 occurred between 3pm to 6pm. This period covers common peak activities like the start of rush hour, the time when kids get out of school, and an increase in parents driving to pickup their kids. These activities lead to an increase in vehicles on the road, and even a sense of urgency on the part of drivers.

When it came to fatal crashes, the timeframe was drastically different. Most of the accidents occurred between the hours of midnight and 3am on weekends. Data from the same 2012 NHTSA data also show that it was within these three hours when the highest percentages of alcohol-impaired drivers were on the road. Statistics over a five-year period, between 2001 and 2005, show that 36 fatalities occurred each day on average across the U.S. as a result of crashes involving drunk drivers. These numbers increased dramatically at certain times of the year including the Christmas season (an average of 45 fatalities per day) and over the New Year’s holiday (54 fatalities per day).

Summers have the highest number of accidents and automotive deaths than the rest of the year combined. Although weather and driving conditions allow for clear skies, dry roads, optimal visibility, and longer daylight hours, the benefits are negated by factors such as a higher volume of holiday travelers and a significant increase in the number of alcohol-impaired drivers.

The time between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend is considered the “100 deadliest days” for teens. Nine of the 10 deadliest days for youngsters fall between May and August. One reason is due to teens drinking a younger age, with 15.1% of 18-20 year olds having reported driving under the influence in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other causes include too little driving experience, and an increase in distracted driving behaviors such as texting, talking on the phone, eating/drinking, talking to other passengers, and frequent changes to radio stations/music.

The most dangerous holiday of year to be on the roads is Fourth of July according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which studied deaths from auto accidents between 2005 and 2009. On average, 144 driving-related deaths occurred and of those, teenage fatalities accounted for nearly 10% of the total.

The most traveled holiday period of the year is Thanksgiving weekend. DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend. Forty percent of traffic-related fatalities during the period between Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers. This represents a 12% increase over the rest of December.

IIHS found that the second deadliest day on the roads was September 2nd, followed by August 13th, July 15th, May 20th, November 11th, and January 1st. Seven of the 25 deadliest days of the year occurred during August, making it the deadliest month on the roads.

In addition to public holidays, special occasions and events turn out to be some of the most accident-prone days – i.e. Cinco de May or the Super Bowl. Saturday is the most dangerous day of the week to drive because there are more cars (therefore, more drunk drivers) on the road compared to any other day.

Vehicle-to-vehicle accidents are just one of several types of auto accidents. Pedestrians, cyclists, and even individuals on rollerblades are at risk. The Injury Prevention journal found that there are more pedestrian deaths on New Year’s Day than any other day, including Halloween. Pedestrian fatalities are more likely to occur on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and nearly half of all crashes involved alcohol on the part of either the driver or the pedestrian.

If you are doing your own in-house marketing, time your efforts and media placements in locations that are relevant for drivers, pedestrians, and victims of a car accident. Focus on popular days of the week, high-volume hours, and holidays throughout the summer. Legal firms with a good budget who want to target car accident victims may consider working with a professional firm who can help create a powerful ad and pinpoint the most accurate media buys to increase leads and win new business.