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When are Motor Vehicle Accidents Most Prevalent?

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Certain times of the day and of the year pose additional challenges for Ontario drivers, making motor vehicle accidents more prevalent. From dangerous weather conditions to careless driving, drivers need to be prepared and know when they need to exercise more caution on the roads.

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Ontario Road Safety

According to the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario is home to some of the safest roads in North America. Increased efforts to reduce motor vehicle accidents have been ongoing for the last decade. Year over year, fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents have declined. Even so, fatalities are still far too common and auto accidents remain a primary cause of serious injuries in Ontario.

One way to combat motor vehicle accidents is for drivers to understand when motor vehicle accidents are more prevalent and the reasons behind this. For instance, more fatal collisions occur on Thursdays and Fridays and the daytime accounts for a higher number than most would suspect.

Some of these represent statistical anomalies but a deeper dive reveals key insights into why certain times of day and of the year are more dangerous for Ontario drivers.

The Winter

Every Ontarian knows that the summer offers ideal driving conditions like dry roads, clear visibility and longer daylight hours. In fact, driving can be its own activity on a warm August day. Winter, on the other hand, is rife with dangerous conditions that drivers must withstand. Ice, sleet, hail, snow, slush and whiteouts, can all wreak havoc for unprepared vehicles or hinder a driver’s visibility and their ability to control their vehicle. These elements can result in more rear-end collisions or instances of vehicles sliding into intersections. To combat the dangers of winter road conditions, drivers should:

  • Get their vehicle winterized
  • Properly scrape all the ice off windshields and windows
  • Remove snow from hood, trunk and roof
  • Switch to winter tires early in the season

In addition to these precautions, drivers must operate with extreme caution, heightened awareness and at reduced speeds.

Rush Hour

Common sense dictates that the more cars on the road, the more accidents there will be. In Ontario, the most likely time to be involved in a motor vehicle accident is between 5pm and 6pm. Drivers could be tired or frustrated after a long day of work or could be driving aggressively to get somewhere quickly. The fatality rate is considerably lower as vehicles are moving at a slower speed due to congestion.

Night Driving

While more motor vehicle accidents occur during the day, a by-product of rush hour, the nighttime also presents dangers due to substantially lowered visibility. This reduced visibility means less time to react. Another factor unique to night driving is the tendency to overdrive your headlights. This is when the driver is speeding to the point where their stopping distance is beyond their headlights, giving the driver less time to come to a full stop. The likelihood of an accident occurring will always be greater whenever a driver can’t clearly see the road.


The highest fatality rate is for accidents that occur between 2 am and 3 am. During this time, drivers are tired or could be impaired after a night out. While rush hour is highly susceptible to car accidents, the open roads at night can prompt drivers to speed and lull them into a false sense of safety.

In addition, every driver needs to understand that night driving and inclement weather make for a dangerous combination.

Long Weekends

Long weekends tend to see a spike in motor vehicle accidents. The usual culprits are impaired driving and speeding. There is also an influx of young drivers, en route to a cottage weekend, who are inexperienced with both long-distance driving and highway driving.

Most long weekends see an increased number of cars on Ontario highways and more traffic infractions. More impaired drivers, more distracted drivers, more unbelted passengers, and more vehicles speeding down open roads will result in more motor vehicle accidents.

If you are Injured

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should consult a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Contact the legal experts at Mackesy Smye to help prepare your case, determine liability and understand what damages you could seek. We have the experience and knowledge to properly handle your case and make sure you are in the best position. We will examine the evidence and documentation and craft a winning strategy.

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If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact us for a no-obligation consultation to review the details of your case. Complete our secure online contact form, or call us at 1-905-525-2341 today.

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