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Mapped: The Most Dangerous Time to Drive in Each U.S. State

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Map of the most dangerous time to drive in the U.S. by state

The Most Dangerous Time to Drive in Each U.S. State

Thousands of commuters around the world lose their lives in vehicular accidents each year, and in the U.S., the most dangerous time to drive can actually depend on which state you’re in.

According to the CDC, car crashes are the eighth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause for young people between the ages of 5–29 years old. Each day, the U.S. alone sees an average of 102 fatal traffic accidents.

This graphic by Clunker Junker uses data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to identify the most dangerous time to drive in each state of the country, based on traffic fatalities.

The Deadly Hours

On average, U.S. commuters lose over 50 hours of their time in rush hour traffic every year. In addition to being a frustrating drive, NHTSA data found that this time frame is also the most dangerous in some states.

The number of fatal traffic accidents across various parts of the U.S. increases after 5pm, peaking between 9pm and 10pm.

StateMost Dangerous Time to Drive
Alabama5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Alaska2:00‒2:59 p.m.
Arizona7:00‒7:59 p.m.
Arkansas5:00‒5:59 p.m.
California9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Colorado5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Connecticut7:00‒7:59 p.m.
Delaware5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Florida8:00‒8:59 p.m.
Georgia6:00‒6:59 p.m.
Hawaii8:00‒8:59 p.m.
Idaho4:00‒4:59 p.m.
Illinois6:00‒6:59 p.m.
Indiana9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Iowa5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Kansas1:00‒1:59 p.m.
Kentucky2:00‒2:59 p.m.
Louisiana9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Maine4:00‒4:59 p.m.
Maryland9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Massachusetts6:00‒6:59 p.m.
Michigan9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Minnesota4:00‒4:59 p.m.
Mississippi8:00‒8:59 p.m.
Missouri3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Montana2:00‒2:59 p.m.
Nebraska4:00‒4:59 p.m.
Nevada8:00‒8:59 p.m.
New Hampshire2:00‒2:59 p.m.
New Jersey8:00‒8:59 p.m.
New Mexico6:00‒6:59 p.m.
New York6:00‒6:59 p.m.
North Carolina6:00‒6:59 p.m.
North Dakota4:00‒4:59 p.m.
Ohio8:00‒8:59 p.m.
Oklahoma3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Oregon5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Pennsylvania3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Rhode Island9:00‒9:59 p.m.
South Carolina8:00‒8:59 p.m.
South Dakota1:00‒1:59 p.m.
Tennessee8:00‒8:59 p.m.
Texas9:00‒9:59 p.m.
Utah3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Vermont5:00‒5:59 p.m.
Virginia6:00‒6:59 p.m.
Washington5:00‒5:59 p.m.
West Virginia3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Wisconsin3:00‒3:59 p.m.
Wyoming3:00‒3:59 p.m.

This is reported to be an outcome of various factors: low visibility at night, glaring headlights, more cars on the road, and a higher number of drunk drivers. In some states, regional geography and weather also contribute to dangerous road conditions, including hills and mountains, rain, snow, and strong winds.

Another factor is congestion. More populated states with longer average commutes like California and Maryland had the most dangerous time to drive as later (between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.), while central states with smaller populations like Kansas and South Dakota had earlier peak dangerous times (between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.)

The safest times to drive across all states? Early in the morning from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The Most Dangerous Time to Drive by Month and Day

While holidays are a time for relaxation and celebration, they can be hazardous on the roads.

According to NHTSA data, the summer and fall months are the most dangerous by average fatal accidents.

Charting the most dangerous time to drive in the U.S. by month

June through August are the peak months of vacation travel in the U.S. and see increased traffic (often on high-speed highways and unfamiliar roads) and fatalities. But September is actually the most dangerous month to drive in America, as the Labor Day weekend and the new school term bring new drivers to the roads.

Other popular U.S. holidays, including the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween, are also more dangerous than average. In addition to increased instances of drinking and driving, many holidays involve long-distance travel, leading to fatigue.

And finally, according to the NHTSA, the U.S. sees an average of 4.68 fatal accidents on Saturdays making it the most dangerous day. This reaches a peak of over seven fatal accidents between 9 and 10pm every Saturday.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Maps

Mapped: North America Population Patterns by Density

Nearly half a billion people live on the third-largest continent. We take a closer look in this population map of North America.

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A map of North America along with its population patterns.

Mapped: North America Population Patterns by Density

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

From the icy expanses of the Arctic to the warm Caribbean sea, the North American continent covers nearly 25 million square kilometers, or about 15% of the Earth’s land area. Populating this vast region are nearly half a billion people, spread out from coast to valley, along the edges of arid scrublands and rainforests.

We visualize a map of North America population patterns, including Central America and the Caribbean, with spikes illustrating densely populated areas.

Data for this map is sourced from Statistics Canada, the World Bank, and WorldPop—a research group based out of the University of Southampton that tracks population growth and movement across the globe.

Ranked: Countries and Territories by Population Density

Deep in the Atlantic, seen as a small dot near Haiti on the map, the island state of Bermuda is the most densely populated jurisdiction on the continent. Measuring just 53 km² in area, and home to 65,000 people, results in an average population density of 1,266 people per km².

Also in the Caribbean, Barbados ranks second with an average population density 647 people/km², followed by Puerto Rico, ranked third-highest at 430 people/km², despite its much larger area—9,104 km².

RankCountry/TerritoryAverage Population
Density (per km²)
Area (km²)
1🇧🇲 Bermuda1,22653
2🇧🇧 Barbados647431
3🇵🇷 Puerto Rico4309,104
4🇲🇶 Martinique3931,100
5🇦🇼 Aruba370193
6🇸🇻 El Salvador31821,040
7🇻🇮 Virgin Islands308352
8🇻🇨 Saint Vincent &
the Grenadines
302389
9🇭🇹 Haiti29227,750
10🇱🇨 Saint Lucia269616
11🇬🇵 Guadeloupe2521,780
12🇯🇲 Jamaica24810,991
13🇧🇶 Netherlands Antilles229960
14🇹🇹 Trinidad & Tobago2125,128
15🇩🇴 Dominican Republic18348,730
16🇰🇾 Cayman Islands168262
17🇦🇬 Antigua & Barbuda155443
18🇰🇳 Saint Kitts & Nevis149261
19🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands147153
20🇬🇹 Guatemala134108,890
21🇦🇮 Anguilla129102
22🇨🇺 Cuba102110,860
23🇩🇲 Dominica91754
24🇲🇸 Montserrat91102
25🇨🇷 Costa Rica7851,100
26🇭🇳 Honduras62112,090
27🇲🇽 Mexico531,972,550
28🇹🇨 Turks &
Caicos Islands
47430
29🇳🇮 Nicaragua42129,494
30🇵🇦 Panama3878,200
31🇺🇸 U.S.319,629,091
32🇵🇲 Saint-Pierre
& Miquelon
28242
33🇧🇸 The Bahamas2113,940
34🇧🇿 Belize1222,966
35🇨🇦 Canada39,984,670
36🇬🇱 Greenland02,166,086
37🇺🇸 Navassa Island05.2

Source: WorldAtlas.

Naturally the largest countries on the continent—Canada, the U.S., and Mexico—have some of the lowest average population densities compared to other nations in the region.

However, thanks to their size, their overall population distribution is more apparent on a map of this scale. In Canada, the Greater Toronto Area is home to one-fifth the country’s entire population. In stark contrast, the rest of the country seems almost empty—averaging just 3 people/km².

Major U.S. cities—New York, Chicago, and San Francisco—also stand out, though the more regular dispersion of Americans, particularly in the Northeast, South, and Midwest can also be seen.

Interestingly, Monterrey in Mexico jumps out on the map; the city is built at the foot of Cerro de la Silla, and several districts are densely populated as a result.

Ranked: Continents by Population Density

How does North America compare to the other continents by population density?

Unsurprisingly, thanks to its large land area, as well as comparatively smaller population, North America is one of the least densely populated continents in the world, beaten only by Oceania, which averages 5 people/km², and Antarctica.

RankContinentAverage Population
Density (per/km²)
1Asia149
2Africa49
3Europe32
4South America25
5North America25
6Oceania5
7Antarctica0

Source: World Population Review

In comparison, Asia, while being the largest continent, is also home to 60% of the global population, and averages 149 people/km².

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