Most Dangerous Times to Drive in San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the most saturated traffic in the nation. According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, The San Francisco Bay Area has the fourth overall worst traffic and fourth-highest excess fuel consumption due to congestion in the nation (and both numbers rose from 2019 to 2020).

If you’re one of the many drivers in the area, then you may be wondering what you can do to avoid these statistics. Interestingly, there are days and times where accidents and traffic congestion are more likely to occur.

What can make driving turn deadly?

Typically, the risk of collision is greater when driving during the heaviest hours of congestion when commuters flood the freeway to get home from work. Usually, to make matters worse, these drivers are in a rush! Add potential drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of illegal drugs into the commotion of a heavily trafficked freeway, the risk for a severe accident is even higher. These drivers are out on the freeways in droves during Friday evening’s rush hour.

The best way to protect yourself and your passengers from a terrible wreck (even a potentially fatal one) is by being aware of the risks, surroundings, and data to make smarter driving time decisions.

For example, San Francisco-Oakland, California, is fifth in the nation as of 2020 for excess truck travel time and congestion. It’s horrible to be on a packed freeway, let alone with massive 18- wheelers surrounding your sedan or minivan.

How Many Accidents Occur in the Bay Area?

Although in 2020 reports, the Bay Area saw a dip in the number of crashes, this was most likely due to fewer Californians commuting to work as many workers went remote. Additionally, Covid-19 related lockdowns were prevalent in much of the state for long stints, which also impacted traffic, so 2021 numbers may reflect much higher. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths were up by 7% across the country despite, on average, 13% less congestion in 2020. Nevertheless, the Bay Area’s statistics are still staggering compared to other portions of the U.S.

Vision Zero is a city policy implemented back in 2014 in San Francisco to eliminate traffic deaths on the city’s roads by 2024. Unfortunately, the number of traffic fatalities grew from the prior year. In 2020, 30 deaths in San Francisco city limits were traffic fatalities. Of course, this does not include the entire Bay Area. Oakland’s traffic deaths spiked in 2020 by nearly 60%, and more than 20,000 people were injured in San Francisco traffic-related accidents in 2020.

What is the deadliest time of day on the road in San Francisco?

According to the City of San Francisco’s definition, the morning peak period of road congestion is 7-9 a.m., and evening peak is 4:30-6:30 p.m. During these times of day, be sure your eyes are on the road and you are not distracted by your phone or loved one in the car with you. Pay attention to traffic and speed laws, pedestrian traffic, red lights, stop signs, and yielding  —which all happen to be the city’s top five things to focus on while driving but are the leading five causes of collisions.

What to do if you’ve been injured in a California vehicle collision?

First, call the police and file a report. It’s not always easy gathering insurance and contact information after an accident, especially if you’re injured or it’s a multi-car crash. To make matters more complex, we live in a world where rideshare drivers often are speeding to pick up a fare and are involved in accidents. Everyone’s anxiety also seems to be higher in a pandemic world, and with a battered economy, some drivers may be cruising around without insurance, registration, or a valid license.

In some of the worst instances, you may be dealing with an intoxicated driver, making matters more dangerous and complicated. The police will gather everyone’s information carefully and efficiently.

Next, always get checked out at the hospital even if you feel fine, as the signs of whiplash, for example, don’t always show up instantly. Plus, the anxiety of an accident can mask symptoms and pain of injuries you may not be aware you’ve obtained.

Lastly, but just as essential as the above, it’s wise to contact an experienced and trusted California Bay Area car accident and personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will ensure you know all of your rights and collect any damages you may be entitled to receive.