Riskiest day for driving to work?

By Barbara Marquand on October 5th, 2012

You might exclaim "TGIF" at the end of the week, but when it comes to commuting, Friday may not be your lucky day.

A new analysis of 2012 auto insurance claims data from Nationwide Insurance shows that Friday has the highest average number of auto insurance claims -- 4,644 -- making it the riskiest day of the week for commuting. Wednesday came in second, with an average of 4,197 car insurance claims, followed closely by Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, according to the insurer.

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety says being rear-ended and rear-ending another vehicle are the most frequent types of crashes. The good news is you can make any day safer by improving your driving habits. Follow these tips from the network to avoid collisions:

  • Keep your distance. Leave three to four seconds of distance between your car and the one in front of you. Double the distance if the road is wet or slick. If you find you have to brake hard frequently, then you're probably following traffic too closely. For non-emergencies, you should need to use no more than 30 percent of your full braking power.
  • Look ahead. Scan the road ahead for a distance that takes about eight to 10 seconds to travel. That's about a block in the city and about a third of a mile, or four city blocks, on the highway.
  • Don't let your eyes glaze over. Keep your eyes moving to note hazards on all sides of you. Driving fleet safety programs suggest doing a "full mirror sweep" every five to six seconds, the network says.
  • Slow down. Stick to the speed limit so you have enough time to react to moves by other drivers.
  • Be predictable. Avoid turning suddenly and accelerating quickly. Maneuver through traffic gradually in a controlled way
  • Use your turn signals. Activate them three to four seconds before you turn or change lanes.

Finally, put your cell phone away when you get behind the wheel, and focus on driving.

"Regardless of when or where we drive, we all play a part in making our roads safer for each other," Bill Windsor, associate vice president of safety at Nationwide Insurance, said in a press statement.

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