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Should you avoid the roads at night?

You've heard the drunk driving statistics. You know how many innocent people are killed by drunk drivers year in and year out. You know that efforts to prevent it can change the statistics, but they never fully eliminate the danger.

What you're wondering is if there is simply an easy way to avoid all of those drunk drivers. Should you just stay off the roads at night?

It can help. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that a mere 18 percent of deadly accidents during the day involve alcohol. At night, the numbers jump dramatically to 54 percent. If you're not on the road when people are leaving the bar, you may be safer.

There are also simply more deadly accidents, per miles driven, after dark. In total, it's a pretty even split: 49 percent of these deadly accidents occur at night and 51 percent occur during the day. However, so many more people are on the road during the day that the rate of death per miles driven is three times higher at night. If there were the same amount of cars on the road and the trend held, vastly more deadly accidents would happen at night, rather than just 49 percent.

In some senses, the safest time to drive is from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. You avoid the high-risk nighttime hours and get behind the wheel when traffic is lightest.

Of course, drivers have a right to safety on the road and shouldn't have to plan around impaired drivers. When someone is killed by a drunk driver, no matter what time the accident happens, surviving family members may want to look into their legal options.

Source: Forbes, "Most Dangerous Times To Drive," Hannah Elliott, accessed June 02, 2017

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