US report: When the roads are at their most dangerous
The US magazine 'Forbes' has just published the findings of a research project into the dangers of America's roads. Obviously, cars have become much safer to drive over the last few years. Even so, there are still 110 traffic fatalities per day. The main causes of death are drink driving and not wearing a seatbelt. The report gives some indication of the most dangerous times of day for motorists.
The figures for the evening rush hour are truly shocking: between 5pm and 7pm, there are an average 6.6 fatalities per hour. And after everyone has got home from work, the next most dangerous period is between midnight and 4am, with 5.87 deaths per hour. Drink driving accounts for 36% of these night-time accidents, but even during daylight hours, it is still a factor in 9% of fatalities. As darkness sets in, people seem less inclined to belt up: the proportion of victims not wearing a seatbelt was 71% in the evenings and 55% during the day.
The study also includes an analysis by day of the week and comes to a surprising conclusion: it's not so much the rush hour on weekdays that bumps up the statistics as the weekend, with Saturday registering a score of 158 fatalities. And there is also one month in the year when you would be best advised to leave your car in the garage – it's August. If you can't afford to mothball your pride and joy for a whole month, then at least keep off the roads on 4th July – not a day for an outing by car. It might also be a good idea to rethink your travel plans for the Thanksgiving weekend when a plane journey is almost certainly safer.