Are Car Accidents More Common During the“Devil’s Hour?”
April 27, 2022
While you might assume that you are less likely to be involved in a car accident late at night or in the early morning hours with far fewer other drivers on the road, the risks of accidents during these hours can still be high as the motorists who are out on the road may be more likely to engage in unsafe driving behaviors.
What is the“Devil’s Hour?”
“Devil’s Hour,” also called the witching hour, commonly refers to the period between 3 am and 4 am, although it can also refer to other late-night hours after midnight. While devil’s hour got its name because the late-night hours were when supernatural events were believed to occur, today the term refers to the hours after bars close and when drivers are likely to be especially tired.
Although fewer total car accidents may occur during devil’s hour, the rate of crashes in proportion to the total number of vehicles on the road can be much higher compared to other times of the day. In addition, the number of fatal accidents can spike during devil’s hours. According to the National Safety Council, in one recent year, there were a total of approximately 293,000 non-fatal crashes nationwide between the hours of midnight and 4 am. This compares to about 900,000 crashes from 8 am to noon or nearly 1.5 million crashes between 4 pm and 8 pm. However, there were a total of 4,782 fatal crashes that occurred between midnight and 4 am, compared to about 4,000 fatal crashes between 8 am and noon or a little over 8,000 fatal crashes between 4 and 8 pm.
Risks of Being on the Road During Devil’s Hour
Some of the dangers that drivers on the road during devil’s hour can pose include:
- Drunk/drugged driving – As bars and clubs begin to close after midnight, their patrons may decide to drive themselves home after having had too much to drink or after partying a little too hard.
- Speeding – With fewer vehicles on the road during the early morning hours, drivers may be more inclined to speed. But increased speed also increases the risk of serious injury or fatalities in the event of a crash.
- Drowsy/fatigued driving – Motorists are far more likely to feel fatigued and tired when driving during the early morning hours since these are the hours in the natural circadian rhythm when a person is likely to be asleep.
- Poor visibility – Nighttime driving means low lighting, which can make it difficult for drivers to notice hazards or obstacles before it is too late. In addition, drivers can be dazzled or distracted by glare from street lamps or other vehicles’ headlights. Older drivers are especially susceptible, as visual acuity in low lighting naturally decreases as we age.
Tips to Keep Yourself Safe When Driving During Devil’s Hour
The easiest way to avoid being involved in a car accident during devil’s hour is to stay off the road. However, if you do need to be behind the wheel during early morning hours, a few tips to help keep yourself safe include:
- Never get behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol or drugs
- If you feel yourself becoming fatigued or nodding off behind the wheel, pull into a well-lit parking lot where you can take a short nap that can provide you with an extra hour or two of energy
- If you encounter other motorists engaging in unsafe or reckless driving behaviors, pull over or off to the side of the road when safe to do so and let them pass. You may also call law enforcement if you think the driver is posing a risk to themselves and others on the road
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
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