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Home > Blog > Car Accidents > Shorter Car Trips May Involve More Accidents

Shorter Car Trips May Involve More Accidents


When are car accidents most likely to happen? For years, researchers have investigated the time of day that motor vehicle collisions are most likely to occur, and whether certain days of the week are more dangerous than others when it comes to traffic crashes. Holidays and holiday weekends have also been studied for accident risks, as researchers have considered the effects of holiday gatherings and alcohol-impaired collisions. But at what point in any given car trip is a collision most likely to occur? And can researchers even say for certain whether there is any uniformity in answering this question? According to a recent study conducted by Dolphin Technologies, a telematics company, the highest percentage of car crashes happen in the first 10 minutes of being on the road.

Short Trips Could Result in More Collisions 

A number of studies have suggested that lengthy car trips, especially those where drowsy driving is more likely to occur or those that involve driving at night—both risk factors for an accident—can be particularly hazardous. Yet the Dolphin Technologies study shows that about 43 percent of all motor vehicle collisions occur when drivers have been on the road for fewer than 10 minutes. The study looked at a total of 3.2 million vehicle trips that were taken by approximately 40,000 people in 2018 and 2019. Of those trips, the researchers identified a total of 1,986 collisions.

Of the short trips, a surprising number of collisions actually occur within the first three minutes of driving. Indeed, the study reported that about 25 percent of all of the crashes happened within the first three minutes of a car trip. An additional 14 percent of the collisions identified occurred within the first six minutes of being on the road. If nearly 50 percent of all traffic crashes happen during very short car trips, we may need to reassess the ways we think about car accident prevention and even car accident causation.

According to Katharina Sallinger, the Chief Data Scientist for Dolphin technologies, the findings are also a reason to avoid short car trips when there are other options, such as walking or cycling.

Long-Distance Trips Are Still Dangerous 

While the study makes clear that short vehicle trips close to home or to your office can be much more hazardous than you might think, the study also affirmed that long-distance road trips are also dangerous. A PR Newswire release about the study discussed Dolphin’s findings about lengthy vehicle trips, which showed that, “if you are in the car for more than 40 minutes, you already have two and a half times the risk than if you are driving for less than 20 minutes.”

To be sure, longer drives are very risky, but people simply do not take them as often as very short trips near to their homes or places of business. The study suggested that, in relative terms, the safest time for a car trip is one that lasts between 10 and 20 minutes. Once a trip lasts more than 20 minutes, the risk of a collision rises. Then, once a trip lasts 40 minutes, as we noted, the risk rises significantly.

Contact a Marietta Car Accident Lawyer 

If you were injured in a collision, a Marietta car accident attorney can assist you. Contact The Strickland Firm today to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.


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