When is the most dangerous time to drive in Oklahoma?


Car wrecks can happen anywhere at any time, but some times of the day, week, and year can be more dangerous than others. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OSHO) recently came out with new crash data from 2021, revealing:

  • More traffic incidents occurred on Friday than on any other day of the week
  • April was the month with the highest rate of car accidents
  • The most collisions occurred between 5:00 pm and 5:59 pm 

How can we use this information to prevent Oklahoma City car accidents? Some of this data may be merely the result of coincidence, but we can highlight some common sense driving tips from the study results.

Crashes Spike During Rush Hour

As shown in the graph below, the most dangerous time to drive in Oklahoma is in the late afternoon, between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, just when everyone is driving home from work and school. If you commute to and from work, you can’t avoid rush hour, but if you have a choice, you will likely be safer driving outside of those dangerous hours when the roads are most congested. We also see a rise in accidents between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 am. Since this is the standard time people commute to school or work, it makes sense there would be an increase in collisions.

Oklahoma crashes by time of day graph

Why Do Most Accidents Happen During Rush Hour?

Firstly, during rush hour, there is a significant increase in the number of drivers on the road. Busy roads mean there is a higher chance of an accident happening. Additionally, stop-and-go traffic happens when busy streets lead to rear-end accidents or multi-vehicle pile-ups. 

Drivers tend to be more tired during these commute times which shows considering the spike in crashes around these times of the day. The lighting around sunrise and sunset can affect drivers’ vision. There is typically a strong glare from the sun during these hours. 

Why Do More Accidents Happen On Fridays?

Similar to the reasons for an increase in wrecks during rush hour, most car accidents happen on Fridays. On Friday mornings and evenings, drivers may be especially drowsy from a long week of waking up early and commuting. They may also be particularly distracted by the events that happened at work throughout the week or upcoming weekend plans. There is also an increase in aggressive driving behaviors as people are in a rush to get to their destinations on Fridays. 

Oklahoma Crashes By Day of Week Graph

How Can I Avoid Accidents At These Times In Oklahoma?

There are some factors you can control and some you cannot. While most of us cannot avoid rush hour, we can implement safe driving practices that will keep everyone safer on the roads by decreasing car accident fatalities. Some tips include:

  • Stay focused on the road: The average commute time in the U.S. is only 26 minutes. Dedicating your commute to being focused in on the road is a small commitment that can save lives. Avoid distractions like checking your phone or eating while driving. 
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals: Follow all traffic signs including the speed limit. Speeding accidents accounted for an average of 16% of accidents between 2018 and 2022. Following this simple rule of the road could prevent these types of accidents from ever happening.
  • Stay in your lane: It is extremely important to use turn indicators and avoid distractions, especially in areas of dense congestion. New 2018-2022 data from the Department of Transportation shows that lane departures led to an average of 351 fatal accidents per year which is about 51% of all fatal accidents in Oklahoma.
  • Change your route: If possible, choose a route that avoids traffic. While this might add a few minutes to your commute time, it will help prevent accidents.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Driving too closely behind another car is the main cause of rear-end accidents. 
  • Stay alert at intersections: Most accidents happen on city streets rather than highways or interstates. Intersections pose a risk of t-bone accidents which is the deadliest type of crash. There are an average 144 intersection collisions in Oklahoma per year. 
  • Don’t drink and drive: Oklahoma saw an average of 51 deaths per year between 2018 and 2022 due to impaired driving. Use ride share services like Uber and Lyft if you plan on drinking – it is not worth the risks and consequences.

Stay Alert At All Times

While Fridays saw more traffic incidents in Oklahoma than any other day, certain times of the day and week present their unique dangers. Weekend nights tend to see an increase in impaired or drunk driving accidents and weekday traffic can create hazards in school zones.

The best policy is to always keep your guard up and treat every trip as if it is on the most dangerous driving day of the year. Careless drivers never take a day off. If their negligence has caused you or a loved one a serious injury, remember that you have our Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys at your disposal.