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Commuters have the most risk on their trip home from work

Car crashes can happen at any time. It only takes a few seconds of distraction or an unexpected medical event for a driver to lose control of their vehicle. You should always be aware of your surroundings when driving and trying to keep yourself and your passengers safe. There are extra steps you can take to keep yourself safer.

You probably already avoid using your phone while driving and ask someone else to take the wheel if you had a couple of drinks. What you may not consider is how not just your behavior but also the time when you drive affect the risk you have for a crash.

Research about when crashes occur makes it clear that commuters have far more risk on their way back home in the afternoon than they do in the morning on their way to work.

Why is the afternoon commute more dangerous?

According to the National Safety Council, rush hour or between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. is the second most dangerous time to drive, other than after dark. There are a huge number of people on the road, many of whom may feel fatigued after a full shift at work.

Heavy traffic can lead to people playing around with their phones while driving or otherwise getting distracted. Rush hour traffic could also increase the likelihood of someone succumbing to road rage or driving dangerously to get around stopped traffic. You also can’t ignore the fact that it is often dark or getting dark by the time you leave your office in the fall, winter and early spring.

Can you reduce the risk you have during your afternoon commute?

Simply being aware of your increased crash risk can help you avoid making mistakes at the wheel. If you know it is one of the most dangerous times of day to drive, you probably won’t check your social media notifications if your phone starts beeping.

Even if you feel hungry, you may recognize that eating at the wheel before you get home might make it less likely for you to get there safely. You may also want to consider using a different route to get home from work than you use to get to work, particularly if you use highways to travel and find yourself feeling frustrated during traffic jams.

Knowing what increases your risk of a car accident can help you avoid causing them and help you stand up for yourself if you get hurt in a crash caused by another driver.