If you plan to head out on vacation this month, taking advantage of some of the last few weeks of summer before kids head back to school and temperatures start to cool down, beware: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), August is the deadliest month on the road.
In records dating all the way back to 1994, August has consistently been the worst month for fatal car crashes in the United States. In 2009, the number of fatalities reached 2,864. These numbers are backed up by data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which shows that between 2005 and 2009, seven of the 25 deadliest days overall occurred in August. In explaining the numbers, experts point to the fact that there are simply more cars on the road in August than in any other month. People are on vacation and taking trips, visiting family or sightseeing. It is for this same reason—simply more cars on the road—that more accidents occur on weekends than mid-week, with Saturday being the most dangerous travel day and Tuesday the safest.
Statistics collected over the last several decades even allow organizations like NHTSA and the Insurance Institute to pin down the most dangerous hours of the day. According to NHTSA, the riskiest hours are between 6 and 9 pm when more than four people die each hour nationwide.
These statistics are a strong reminder for vacationers in Wisconsin this month to buckle up and stay alert on the roads. As much as possible, plan your travel to avoid those peak times on highways—late afternoon and weekends. And use extra caution when driving on our roadways.