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Why fall is the most dangerous time to drive in the US

From collisions with deer to increased darkness, the fall poses more risks for drivers than other times of year.
Why fall is the most dangerous time to drive in the US
Posted at 2:09 PM, Sep 20, 2023

According to seasonal auto accident data from Carfax, 40 out of 50 states report more car wrecks during the fall than any other season. 

According to Carfax, 72% of drivers live in areas where fall is considered the peak season for auto accidents. 

Carfax cites three different reasons: Diminishing daylight, slick surfaces and deer danger. 

The data indicates that drivers are twice as likely to crash at night than during the day. Although the fall starts with generally as much daylight as darkness, some of the darkest days of the year come at the end of fall. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted how the end of daylight saving time can be an abrupt change for drivers. 

The end of daylight saving time causes "a sudden change in the driving conditions in the late afternoon rush hour — from driving home from work during daylight hours to driving home in darkness," the CDC said. "People may not have changed their driving habits to nighttime driving and might be at somewhat higher risk for a vehicle crash."

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The report also notes leaves that fall and become wet can make roadways as slippery as ice. 

Also, nearly half of all deer crashes come in October-December, during deer mating season. 

State Farm Insurance noted the rise of animal collisions during these months. It says that drivers in most states are most likely to collide with a large animal in November. 

There are 1.9 million car-animal collisions annually, State Farm says. 

While most of the U.S. experiences more accidents in fall, California, Alaska, Louisiana, Florida, New Jersey and Vermont report more accidents in the winter. Nebraska and Oklahoma report more accidents in the spring, while New Mexico reports more in the summer. Data is inconclusive for Oregon and Hawaii. 


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