No matter how you take to the streets of New York, some times of day may naturally prove more hazardous than others. Do you face greater danger when you go out after dark, or does rush hour pose the greatest threat? Have you ever wondered whether you should put off an errand or an outing a little longer to help keep you safer on the road? Take a look at the most dangerous times of day, according to the New York DMV, for cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and more.
Overall: The Most Dangerous Times on the Roads
If you find yourself looking for the overall most dangerous time of day on the road you might find that the hours between noon and six present the most significant general danger. According to the New York DMV, approximately 1,600 accidents occur between noon and three each day, and around 1,550 accidents occur between three and six.
Why do those times prove more dangerous? Several critical hazards could increase during those hours.
Despite the fact many people work between the hours of noon and six, many others may find themselves out on the road. Some drivers need to drive as part of their daily work responsibilities. Others may take to the road to shuttle kids, manage appointments, or take care of errands. Most people are awake, moving, and taking care of business during those hours, which means more drivers out and about.
With more people on the road, accident risk increases. Single-vehicle crashes, while they may make up 55 percent of fatalities and 56 percent of fatal crashes each year, make up less than 25 percent of total crashes annually. Having more drivers on the road naturally introduces more variables, making it more difficult for many drivers to navigate the obstacles they may come up against safely.
On many busy New York roads, construction, road work, and utility maintenance tasks take place primarily during work hours. As a result, during the busiest hours of the day, many drivers may encounter additional hazards as they head on their way. Construction may lead to unexpected slowdowns and detours and introduce possible hazards in the form of workers and machinery. Work zone collisions may cause more than 850 fatalities and 44,000 serious injuries yearly.
Impatience and Rush
During the day, many drivers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists rush to accomplish all the items on their To Do lists for the day. Often, they may feel they have a limited amount of time to accomplish all of their goals, and they may try to speed or drive aggressively to achieve those goals. Impatience can, in many cases, lead to considerable hazards out on the road since drivers may not take the time to carefully look out for and avoid other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists.
The Most Dangerous Time of Day for Pedestrians
While most accidents across New York might, in general, occur in the middle of the day, pedestrian accidents may occur more often later in the evening. Pedestrian accidents occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pedestrians typically have the fewest accidents in the early hours of the morning, between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Pedestrian accidents may increase substantially later in the evening for several reasons.
Often, pedestrians take to the streets while inebriated, without stopping to take the possibility of an accident into consideration. Inebriated pedestrians may engage in more dangerous or reckless behavior, including crossing in unsafe locations or trying to beat a vehicle across the street. In addition, drunken pedestrians may not behave predictably, making it more difficult for drivers to figure out what they plan to do and avoid the risk of an accident.
Increased Pedestrian Traffic
After work hours, more people may hit the streets of New York to shop, run errands, or pick up food. The hours between 6 and 9 may offer some of the best shopping opportunities for many people. Traveling throughout the cities of New York, as opposed to the more rural areas, may mean more time spent on the streets, which may make it more difficult to avoid a potential collision. The more pedestrians fill the roads and sidewalks, the more accident potential naturally increases.
Teenagers Heading out for Fun
The hours between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. may offer some of the most opportunities for fun for many teens. They have left school, and their parents may allow them the freedom to head out and engage in other activities with friends. Most teens rely on public transportation, walking, or biking to get around. As a result of increased teen traffic during those hours, they may see greater overall accident potential.
During much of the year, the sun begins to set between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. across New York, though during the shortest days of the year, the sun may set as early as 4:30 p.m.
During those hours, pedestrian visibility can decrease substantially. Sunset itself may mean that the sun ends up in the eyes of many drivers, who may find it more difficult to track the movements of pedestrians around them due to that poor visibility. Darkness can also make it harder to see pedestrians, especially if they dress in dark or non-reflective clothing.
The Most Dangerous Time of Day for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders may see the greatest risk of accidents between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with the hours between noon and 3 p.m. offering only slightly less danger. Motorcycle riders may have a greater likelihood of suffering fatal injuries in an accident in general.
Take a look at several reasons that may increase the risk of a motorcycle accident during those hours.
Between around 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., many cities across New York face rush hour: a time when more drivers hit the road on their way home from work. Motorcycle riders may face greater dangers in that heavy traffic since they may end up sitting closer to the drivers around them, and drivers may have more things to keep track of, which may make them more likely to lose track of the motorcycles around them.
As with pedestrians, motorcycle riders may face greater overall danger in the hours surrounding sunset. Decreased visibility, in general, can prove very challenging for motorcycle riders, who may rely on the drivers around them to keep track of their location on the road and keep them as safe as possible. The dropping sun may also decrease the likelihood that some drivers will look around as carefully before changing lanes or completing a turn, which may raise the risk to motorcycle riders.
The Most Dangerous Time for Big Trucks in New York
Truck accidents in New York may occur most commonly between 9 a.m. and noon. Truck drivers often face extra hazards that can raise the risk of an accident, including longer hours spent out on the road and a larger vehicle that can prove much more difficult to navigate. Truck drivers may also spend most of their hours driving, which means they may spend more time on the road during hours when other drivers tend to remain off the road.
The drowsiness faced by a truck driver may depend on when he started his day. In some cases, drivers may feel very sleepy as they get behind the wheel of the truck. They may have a hard time shaking off that drowsiness and keeping their attention on the road, especially if they had trouble getting to sleep the night before or have any health issues that could make it more difficult for them to sleep or get adequate rest.
After lunch, some drivers may naturally perk up for a little while after they consume food. However, the stretch of time between noon and 3 p.m. has the second-greatest risk of a truck accident, perhaps due in part to the post-lunch crash.
More Opportunities to Speed
Between 9 a.m. and noon, fewer vehicles take to the streets across New York. As a result, truck drivers can often increase their rates of speed, which may mean that they also raise their accident risk.
Truck drivers often get paid by the mile or may get paid per delivery. Sitting in traffic can not only slow them down, but it may also decrease their overall income or result in a smaller paycheck for the same load. As a result, many truck drivers may try to pick up the speed when they can, resulting in increased accident risk during the hours when fewer people fill the road.
Increased Delivery Times
Many truck drivers make deliveries during the work day when workers at the business can unload those trucks. While making deliveries, truck drivers need to navigate through tighter spaces, including parking lots. As a result, they may have a greater risk of causing a collision in the parking lot or loading dock, especially in unfamiliar areas.
The Most Dangerous Time for Bicycle Riders in New York
Bicycle accidents occur most often between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The surrounding time blocks, between noon and three and between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., also see a notable increase in bike accidents. Bike riders may face a number of unique challenges. While they must follow the same rules of the road as both pedestrians and motorists, they fall into neither category.
Much of the greater New York area has a strong bike infrastructure that makes it easier for cyclists to get around, but that infrastructure may not eliminate accident risk completely. What makes those hours so dangerous for bike riders? Several factors may contribute.
Increased Bike Traffic
In many cases, bike accidents increase because more bike riders have hit the roads. Cyclists may choose to head out after work if they use their bikes primarily for transportation. Some people, who may use public transportation to commute to and from work, may use their bikes for transportation once they leave the office for the day.
Others may head out to get some exercise after a long day at the office. Furthermore, in general, cyclists may prove less likely to hit the road in the earlier hours of the morning and later at night. With more cyclists on the road, accident potential may increase.
Bike riders, like pedestrians and motorcyclists, often prove much more difficult to see than the average motor vehicle. Many motor vehicle drivers will miss the presence of a vehicle or pedestrian that does not fit the full-size vehicle profile the driver naturally has in mind when looking for obstacles.
As a result, those individuals may have a greater overall likelihood of ending up injured in a collision. During periods of low visibility, like around sunset, drivers may have even more trouble tracking the movement of things smaller than a passenger vehicle, which may raise the risk of a collision around the hours of sunset.
Greater Commuter Traffic
Bike riders may also face more dangers when more passenger vehicles take to the roads. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., many cities across New York go through a large percentage of their rush hour traffic. During rush hour, many drivers feel more impatient and may behave more dangerously. Furthermore, drivers focused on the traffic around them may have a harder time noting the presence of a bicycle.
Contact a Lawyer After a Motor Vehicle Accident at Any Time of Day
Any time you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident, working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you pursue the compensation you may deserve. No matter what time of day you suffered your accident, you may need an attorney to help collect evidence related to your accident and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible to protect your right to compensation.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.