Harm reduction is a philosophical approach to personal and social safety. Harm reduction requires that you acknowledge that there is no perfect solution and that people make mistakes all the time. By being realistic about the circumstances and the risks that you may face, you can use harm reduction to keep yourself and the people that matter to you as safe as possible.
For drivers, harm reduction comes in numerous forms. It means recognizing the bad behaviors with the strongest correlation with crashes and the safety features in vehicles that do the most in the event of a collision. It also means identifying the biggest risk factors for getting into a wreck.
The time of day that you are on the road will influence how likely you are to experience a motor vehicle collision on your next drive. There are two times each day that are statistically much more dangerous than the rest of the day for drivers.
Night time driving is the most dangerous
The National Safety Council (NSC) collects and analyzes traffic collision data to help provide guidance on harm reduction and best driving practices. According to their data, a significant number of motor vehicle collisions occur after dark or during transitional times when the sun is in the process of rising or setting.
Visibility issues are one factor that contributes to late-night crashes. A greater risk of drunk drivers is another concern, especially right after bars and restaurants close for the evening. Finally, fatigue and drivers falling asleep at the wheel are also reasons that nighttime driving can be particularly dangerous.
The afternoon rush hour is also perilous
When you are on your way home from work, you may find yourself daydreaming about what you will do when you get home or reviewing a checklist of what you have to accomplish before you go to bed at night. Overall, traffic will be very heavy, and people in their vehicles may engage in distraction, ranging from ordering takeout to responding to a last-minute email from a client.
Afternoon rush hour traffic between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. is the second most dangerous time of day according to the NSC. Avoiding distraction, staying on roads with lower traffic density and making sure you feel alert before getting behind the wheel are all ways to reduce your risk of a crash during the afternoon rush hour.
Learning about and accounting for factors that increase your motor vehicle collision risk can improve your safety when you drive.