Commuting to and from work every day is often a source of frustration for modern professionals. It can feel like time lost, especially if someone lives a significant distance each way. Their weekly commute could consume as much time as an extra shift on the job might.

Not only is a commute frustrating and sometimes expensive, but it is also a major source of personal injury risk. Every mile that someone travels in a motor vehicle slightly increases the possibility of a crash occurring. Although many workers don’t realize it, their afternoon commute back home actually has them out on the road at one of the most dangerous times of the day.

What crash statistics reveal about commute risk

The National Safety Council has access to crash statistics from every state and can analyze all of that data to find trends. They have released reports indicating that some times of day are more dangerous than others. Specifically, any time after dark is when an individual’s crash risk is highest.

However, the second most dangerous time of day was during the afternoon rush hour on weekdays. From Monday through Friday, between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., motorists have the highest crash risk at any time when the sun is still in the sky. Several factors likely contribute to that elevated risk in the afternoon.

Higher traffic levels are always a concern, and many people experience an energy slump in the afternoon before dinner. Finally, distraction is a serious concern, as people may respond to emails from work or send text messages to friends and family it unfortunate outcomes.

Knowing the risk can help someone focus on safety

When people understand that their risk of a motor vehicle collision is higher at certain times of the day, they can make choices that might keep them a bit safer, such as choosing a route home that has less traffic or skipping happy hour it’s because they skipped lunch that day. Ultimately, knowing that the afternoon commute is a dangerous time to be on the road can inspire safer travel practices.