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How Many Car Accidents Occur Each Hour, Day & Year in the U.S.?

How Many Car Accidents Occur Each Hour, Day & Year in the U.S.? | Houston Car Accident Lawyer

Too Many Car Crashes Happen on U.S. Roadways. Most of Them Are Preventable.

At least 7.277 million car accidents occur in the U.S. every year, according to the latest data. That’s roughly:

  • 19,937 crashes every day
  • 831 accidents each hour
  • 14 wrecks every minute

Those are shocking numbers, but they don’t tell the whole story. Revealing more about how, when, why, and where most auto crashes happen, here’s a look at the most up-to-date car accident statistics. They don’t just reflect the causes and impacts of auto crashes—they also reveal opportunities for preventing wrecks and saving lives.

What Causes Car Accidents?

About 94% of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error. Most commonly, this error includes:

  • Recognition errors: Failing to notice signage, not seeing a pedestrian, and otherwise not recognizing the driving environment play a role in about 41% of all wrecks.
  • Decision errors: These mistakes, like making an illegal turn or speeding, are involved in about 1 in every 3 accidents caused by human error.
  • Performance errors: Overcorrecting after changing lanes, along with other performance errors, contributes to about 11% of crashes involving human mistakes.

Commonly, these errors go hand in hand, with one triggering others. For example, failing to recognize a signal change can lead to decision and performance errors.

Additionally, these errors are far more likely to occur when drivers are:

  • Drunk: Nearly 10,500 people are killed by drunk drivers every year in the U.S. That’s one death every 51 minutes. And it means that alcohol impairment is a factor in nearly 1 in every 3 car accident deaths.
  • Distracted: Each year in the U.S., distracted drivers kill nearly 3,200 people. That’s about 9 distracted driving deaths each day. And it means that nearly 10% of all car crash deaths are caused by a distracted driver.

Aside from human error, vehicle equipment failure and environment conditions, like poor road or weather conditions, cause about 2% of all car accidents in the U.S. (with the remaining 2% being attributed to “unknown” critical factors).

When Is the Most Dangerous Time to Drive?

According to the data, most car accidents occur:

  • In August: About 1 in every 3 car accident deaths happens during the month of August. While this tends to be a time when more drivers in general are on the roads, it’s also when more teenage drivers are sharing the roads—and when these less experienced motorists are doing a lot driving (when compared to during the school year).
  • On Saturdays: The average Saturday in America comes with about 158 car accident fatalities. Holiday weekends are particularly deadly, with the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend seeing more fatal car crashes than any other holiday weekend.
  • At Night: Most deadly car accidents occur between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., as people are getting off work and community—and as the sun sets and reduces visibility. However, when looking at the incidence of deadly wrecks when compared to the number of vehicles on the roads, the period between midnight to 4 a.m. has the highest fatality rate.

Here, it’s also important to note that July 4th is the single most dangerous day of the year when it comes to car crashes. This holiday holds the tragic distinction of seeing the most car accident deaths out of any other day in the year.

How Can I Reduce My Risk of a Car Accident?

Statistics say that the average driver will be in 3 to 4 crashes over a lifetime. That’s one accident every 18 or so years.

That’s unsettling, but there is good news—you can take action to reduce your risk of getting in an accident. Here’s how:

  • Stay focused: Don’t overestimate your ability to multitask while driving. Devote your complete attention to the road, so you can be alert and responsive to the driving environment.
  • Drive sober: If you feel different, you’re probably going to drive differently. From alcohol to drugs, impairment can alter your perception, judgment, and reaction times. So, never get behind the wheel if you aren’t sober.
  • Always buckle up: This is the single most effective way to protect yourself, prevent injuries, and save your life if a wreck happens.
  • Obey the rules of the road: Do what other drivers expect you to do. Use your signals, abide by rights-of-way, don’t follow other vehicles too closely, and do what you’re supposed to do behind the wheel.

Of course, no matter how careful you are, you can’t control others on the road. If or when others’ errors cause you to be involved in a wreck, contact an attorney to find out more about your rights and legal options.