What is the Riskiest Time of Year for Auto Accidents in Southern California?

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Roadways are generally more dangerous on the weekends, during holidays, and right after daylight savings time. Recognizing that some times of the year pose a greater safety risk than others can help you exercise more caution as a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

Most of us don’t consider the seasons to influence whether we are more or less likely to suffer an auto accident injury. While drivers in colder states may take steps to protect themselves during snowy winters, Southern California drivers typically enjoy safe road conditions year-round. However, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recently released data detailing the number of motor vehicle accidents according to the time of year. Here are some of the key takeaways from this data to help you understand what times of year may pose a greater safety risk than others on the road.

The Weekends Pose a Greater Safety Risk

According to the III’s data, roughly fifty percent of all fatal crashes occurred on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In general, people tended to drive faster on these days, and the rate of intoxicated drivers on California roadways increased on weekend days and nights. Additionally, less experienced drivers, such as teens and out-of-town visitors, were more likely to populate highways on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So as you head out on one of these days, you may want to focus a bit more on your surroundings, avoiding drivers traveling at excessive speeds or weaving within or across lanes.

Holidays See a Surge in Reckless or Intoxicating Driving

As you’re probably aware, holidays can increase your safety risk when traveling by car. Other drivers may be leaving holiday parties where they consumed too much alcohol or took substances that impair their ability to drive safely. According to III’s findings from 2018 (the most recent data available), Memorial Day saw the greatest number of motor vehicle deaths (389), followed by Thanksgiving Day (385), Christmas Day (380), Labor Day (375), New Year’s Day (304), and Independence Day (152). As a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian on one of these major holidays, look out for impaired or speeding drivers who could put you at risk.

The Role of Daylight Savings Time in California Auto Accidents

You may have heard that daylight savings time affects us in many surprising ways. Research shows that even this subtle one-hour shift that occurs twice a year can lead to an uptick in the number of auto accidents. According to some estimates, fatal car crashes increase by six percent during the week following daylight savings time. Even one or two lost hours of sleep can impair our ability to remain alert and safe behind the wheel. October, the month when daylight hours are rapidly shortening, saw the highest number of fatal crashes in 2018, while February had the fewest. It’s important to recognize that while other drivers may not be under the influence of substances, lack of sleep or fatigue may affect their ability to drive safely.


If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Temecula or Murrieta and you need help collecting compensation, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation today at (951) 489-3320 to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer.

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