Man reviews insurance after car accident

What’s the most likely time to have an accident?

25th Mar, 2024

Research suggests that most drivers will be involved in an average of three to four accidents in their lifetime. Statistically speaking, then, there will be at least once or twice throughout your lifetime when you’ll find yourself saying: I need to scrap my car.

Now obviously those aren’t hard and fast numbers, and they’re going to vary depending on how often you’re driving, how long for, and where you’re taking your car. As a general rule though, it can be handy to know the most likely time of day to have an accident. There have been a lot of studies carried out, as you might imagine, and lots of them inevitably come to slightly different conclusions. Having said that, there have been some clear patterns to emerge from some of the biggest recent ones…

Worst day for an accident? Friday

You don’t need to be a professional statistician to conclude that one of the most fraught times of day to drive is generally some time around rush hour. That’s been the unofficial consensus for some time, and it’s not hard to see why – people are stressed, tired, and keen to get home after a long day. That results in a lot of driving that’s a lot more aggressive, a lot more impatient, and often a lot more distracted.

And recent research by Lightfoot, released in December 2023, has demonstrated that Friday is regularly the worst day of the week for this kind of behaviour. They analysed more than 5000 vehicles taking part in blind trials, and discovered more instances of harsh braking, speeding, and sudden turns, and aggressive driving in general.

Researchers attributed the phenomenon to ‘weekenditis’ – in other words, people keen to start it. Conversely, Monday stood out as a day where there were the lowest instances of speeding, harsh driving and insurance claims, likely because people are refreshed and rested after the weekend.

Worst time for an accident? 3pm… on Fridays

Interestingly, a few months before Lightfoot released its research, British insurer Aviva published a report of its own, which provided an even more specific insight into the most dangerous time to be driving. Specifically, it’s between 3pm and 3:15pm – typically on Fridays.

In fact, Aviva expanded further on that finding by producing a short list of the top five most dangerous times to be driving. They fly in the face of the traditional rush hour conclusion that so many of us would probably first assume. Instead, all the top times were between 2pm and 4pm. Which – you guessed it – basically lines up with peak school run times after almost a full day of work.

As other commentators have pointed out, hybrid working has almost certainly played a part in this trend. The reduction in traditional rush hour collisions is probably because more people are working from home on Fridays, and then likely go directly from their home office straight to the school gate. Often with the expectation that they’ll go back to work almost immediately afterwards, putting a further time pressure on the trip.

And yes: Time. That factor alone makes up a big part of the reasons why things often tend to get quite tense outside the school gates. According to Aviva, a quarter of the people it surveyed for one study said they chose to drive because they were short on time, adding to this frantic atmosphere, which can create the perfect conditions for an accident.

So if you’re wondering about the best ways to avoid getting yourself caught up in all this, the answer is without question – take your time. And by extension, watch out for other people who aren’t properly taking theirs!

Touch wood, your car will reach the end of its useful lifespan by just slowly puttering to a stop, rather than getting bumped or scraped by another vehicle. But rest assured, either way, we’ll always be here to help you get the very best prices right here at Scrap Car Network. All you need to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll get you an instant online quote before you can say cash for cars. It only takes a few seconds. Curious to find out how much your car is worth?

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