10 Worst Cities for Rush Hour Fatal Crashes [2021 Study]
The 30 U.S. cities with the most traffic accounted for 293 rush hour fatal crashes, which was 14 percent of their total fatal crashes. The rush hour fatal crashes in the 10 deadliest cities made up 10 percent more of their total fatal crashes compared to the other 20 cities. Seattle, the deadliest city during rush hour, had 35 percent of its fatal crashes happen during the high-traffic rush hour time frames.
UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021
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- 121 fatal crashes occurred during rush hour in 2019 for our 10 worst cities
- New York City (with 48) accounted for the most rush hour fatal crashes
- 13 of the cities with the most rush hour fatal crashes were in the West
- 12 of the cities with the most rush hour fatal crashes were in the South
Driving, in general, is dangerous. We know. Fatal or deadly auto accidents routinely are one of the major leading causes of death for people of all ages, often being in the top two causes for people aged 24 or less.
But did you know that rush hour accounts for more traffic accidents than any other time of day and that often those accidents result in deaths?
This article examines the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, cities where just driving to work can result in a higher possibility of a fatal crash.
Take this statistic — in 2019, there were 5,540 fatal car crashes during rush hour (morning and evening). Those crashes accounted for 16.7 percent out of the 33,244 fatal crashes in 2019. Rush hour is deadly, and in some cities, it is deadlier than others.
The worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes are small cities and big cities in all regions of the country. There are some that you might see on "cities with the worst drivers" lists and some that actually are sorted in the opposite "cities with the best drivers" lists.
We'll also go over some statistics, including the number of fatal crashes per day in the United States, how many fatal crashes take place each year, some safety tips for driving during rush hour, and — when it comes to days of the week — when is the safest time to drive.
Living in a city with more fatal crashes can result in higher auto insurance rates, even if you're a safe driver with a good record.
Fortunately, if you believe your rates are too high, it always helps to compare auto insurance companies, which can lead to lower auto insurance rates and more money in your pocket.
The graphic at the top of the page shows the 10 deadliest cities for driving during rush hour, including their total fatal crashes in 2019, the number of rush hour fatal crashes, and the percentage of their total fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour.
One thing for certain: In these cities, driving during rush hour is dangerous. Why? Read on to find out.
Trends in the Worst Cities for Rush Hour Fatal Crashes
The 10 worst cities have many things in common, mostly a high percentage of their fatal crashes coming during rush hour — 35 percent for the deadliest city to 18 percent for the 10th ranked city. The graphic at the top of this article shows that. The 10 deadliest cities have commonalities as well, which you can see by jumping to the 10 deadliest cities trends section.
It's important to note that a single fatal crash can result in numerous fatalities. Also, for reference, we measured morning rush hours as between 7 a.m. to 9:59 a.m. and evening rush hours between 4 p.m. and 6:59 p.m.
Now, onto the ranking.
#10 – Tampa, Florida
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 60
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 11
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 18.3%
Ranked 10th on this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, Tampa, Florida, saw 60 fatal crashes in 2019, 11 of which were during rush hour. That gave Tampa a percentage of 18.3 total fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour. That's almost 4 percent more than the average for all cities in our sample.
Tampa had six fatal crashes occur during the morning rush hour and five occur during the evening rush hour.
In terms of the cities with the worst traffic, Tampa was the 226th worst in the world and the 21st worst in the United States, according to leading traffic analysis company, TomTom. Morning rush hours raised traffic congestion by 39 percent, while evening rush hours raised traffic congestion by 55 percent.
Fatal crashes can have major impacts on auto insurance, including spiking rates for the entire area. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates to begin with, as it employs a no-fault auto insurance system. Tampa auto insurance is no exception to this, with steep penalties for driving infractions and bad credit scores.
#9 – San Jose, California
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 73
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 14
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 19.2%
San Jose, California, ranked 9th on this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, saw 73 fatal crashes in 2019, 14 of which were during rush hour.
Overall, 19.2 percent of San Jose's fatal crashes occurred during rush hour. That's almost 5 percent more than the average for the 30 cities we analyzed for this study.
Six of San Jose's rush hour fatal crashes occurred during the morning rush hour, while eight occurred during the evening rush hour.
San Jose is the fourth most congested city in the country, with morning rush hours raising traffic congestion by 60 percent and evening rush hours raising traffic congestion by 77 percent.
#8 – Portland, Oregon
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 46
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 9
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 19.6%
Ranked 8th in this list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, Portland, Oregon, had 46 fatal crashes in 2019, nine of which came during rush hour. This meant 19.6 percent of its fatal crashes occurred during rush hour, which is 5.2 percent higher than the average for the cities in our sample.
Portland saw five fatal crashes during the morning rush hour and four during the evening rush hour. Fatal crashes can have a major effect on Portland auto insurance rates, as residents may see higher rates because more people are filing claims, even if their driving record is perfect.
For more information, visit our Portland auto insurance rates page.
When it comes to traffic congestion, Portland is the 14th most congested city in the United States and 189th most congested city in the world. Morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 37 percent, with evening rush hours raising traffic congestion by 58 percent.
#6 (Tie) – Riverside, California
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 34
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 7
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 20.6%
Riverside, California, ranked in a tie for 6th in this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, experienced 34 fatal crashes in 2019, with seven coming during rush hour. The percentage of total fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour is 20.6, or 6.2 percent higher than the average for the 30 cities we collected data on.
When we break down the rush hour fatal crashes further, we can see that three of the rush hour fatal crashes occurred during the morning rush hour, while four occurred during the evening rush hour.
One major issue during rush hours is reckless driving as people speed or perform dangerous maneuvers to get to work or home quicker.
This can lead to dangerous road conditions for other drivers and wind the reckless driver in jail if a police officer catches them.
This last part is significant as someone charged with reckless driving often needs special high-risk auto insurance, which can raise that driver's auto insurance rates by hundreds of dollars. California penalizes high-risk drivers more severely than some other states.
In terms of traffic congestion, Riverside is ranked as the 16th most congested city in the United States and the 193rd most congested city in the world. Morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 41 percent, while evening rush hours raise traffic congestion by 54 percent.
#6 (Tie) – San Francisco, California
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 34
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 7
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 20.6%
Ranked in a tie for 6th in this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, San Francisco, California, saw 34 fatal crashes in 2019, with seven of those fatal crashes occurring during rush hour.
The percentage of San Francisco's fatal crashes that happened during rush hour was 20.6, a little more than 6 percent higher than the average for all of our cities.
Breaking down the rush hour fatal crashes a little bit further, five occurred during the morning rush hour, while two occurred during the evening rush hour.
San Francisco is ranked third worst for traffic compared to all cities in the United States and 59th worst in the world. The morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 58 percent, while the evening rush hours raise traffic congestion by 69 percent.
#5 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 23
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 5
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 21.7%
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ranked 5th in this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, saw 23 fatal crashes in 2019, with five occurring during rush hour. This gave Pittsburgh 21.7 percent of its fatal crashes occurring during rush hour, a little over 7 percent higher than the average for all of our cities.
Breaking down the rush hour fatal crashes in Pittsburgh a little further, just one occurred during the morning rush hour, while four occurred during the evening rush hour.
In 2019, Pittsburgh was ranked as the 29th worst city for traffic congestion in the United States and 279th worst in the world. The morning rush hour raises traffic congestion by 32 percent, while the evening rush hour raises traffic congestion by 43 percent.
#4 – New York City, New York
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 208
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 48
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 23.1%
Ranked 4th in this list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, New York City, New York, saw 208 fatal crashes in 2019, with 48 fatal crashes occurring during rush hour.
Because of that, 23.1 percent of New York's fatal crashes occurred during rush hour, a little less than 9 percent higher than the average for all of our cities.
Looking at the rush hour fatal crashes more closely, 25 occurred during the morning rush hour, while 23 occurred during the evening rush hour. The more fatal crashes a city has, the higher the auto insurance rates will likely be. New York City auto insurance rates are already high, with Geico being the cheapest auto insurance company with an average annual rate of $3,700.
In 2019, New York was ranked as the 2nd-worst city for traffic congestion in the United States and 52-worst in the world. Morning rush hours raised traffic congestion by 54 percent, while evening rush hours raised traffic congestion by 70 percent.
#3 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 40
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 10
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 25%
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ranked 3rd in this list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, saw 40 fatal crashes in 2019, with 10 of those fatal crashes occurring during rush hour.
One quarter (25 percent) of Louisiana's fatal crashes in 2019 came during rush hour, a little less than 11 percent higher than the average for all cities.
Breaking down Baton Rouge's rush hour fatal crashes a little bit further, six of its rush hour fatal crashes occurred during the morning rush hours, while four of its rush hour fatal crashes occurred during the evening rush hours.
In 2019, Baton Rouge ranked as the 11th worst city in the United States for traffic congestion and 180th worst in the world. The morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 35 percent, while the evening rush hours raise traffic congestion by 67 percent.
In addition, Lousiana has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, often jockeying with Michigan for the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest auto insurance rates overall in the United States.
If you live in Baton Rouge and believe your auto insurance rates are too high, it may help to learn more about how Baton Rouge auto insurance companies determine auto insurance rates.
#2 – Boise, Idaho
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 7
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 2
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 28.6%
Ranked 2nd in this list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, Boise, Idaho, saw seven fatal crashes in 2019, with two occurring during rush hour.
The percentage of Boise's fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour was 28.6 in 2019, a little more than 14 percent higher than the average for all of our cities.
Analyzing the rush hour fatal crashes a little bit closer, both rush hour fatal crashes in Boise occurred during the evening rush hour.
In 2019, Boise ranked as the 26th-worst city in the United States for traffic congestion and 264th-worst city in the world. Morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 28 percent, while evening rush hours raise traffic congestion by 45 percent.
#1 – Seattle, Washington
Total Fatal Crashes in 2019: 23
Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes: 8
Rush Hour Fatal Crashes Portion of Total: 34.8%
Seattle, Washington, ranked 1st in this list of the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, saw 23 fatal crashes in 2019, with eight occurring during rush hour.
The percentage of Seattle fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour was 34.8 in 2019, a full 20.4 percent higher than the average for all cities.
Looking at the rush hour fatal crashes in Seattle more closely, three of its fatal crashes occurred during the morning rush hour, while five occurred during the evening rush hour. If you're involved in a car accident in Seattle, having the right auto insurance coverage can mean the difference between financial help and bankruptcy.
Seattle auto insurance companies and Oregon auto insurance laws don't require more coverage than liability insurance. Buying comprehensive and collision insurance, as well as other types of coverage, can help you financially if you get into an accident.
In 2019, Seattle was ranked as the 5th worst city in the United States for traffic congestion and 110th worst in the world. The morning rush hours raise traffic congestion by 54 percent, while evening rush hours raise traffic congestion by 66 percent.
10 Worst Cities for Rush Hour Fatal Crash Trends
We've covered the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes individually. Now, we'll take a look at them as a group. The following graphic shows the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes in terms of their fatal crashes occurring during the morning rush hour or during the evening rush hour.
As you can see, while there are some small variances for each city, when totaling all the fatal crashes occurring in the morning rush hour compared to the evening rush hour, they are almost dead even: 60 fatal crashes occurring during the morning rush hour and 61 fatal crashes occurring during the evening rush hour.
The biggest differences occur in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, ranked 5th and tied for 6th, respectively. Out of five total rush hour fatal crashes in Pittsburgh, four of them occurred during the evening rush hour. San Francisco was the opposite, with five of its rush hour fatal crashes occurring during the morning rush hour and just two during the evening.
All of the other 10 deadliest cities had rush hour fatal crashes during morning rush hours versus evening rush hours separated by just two fatal crashes at the most. Three of our 10 worst cities had rush hour fatal crashes separated by one when comparing morning rush hour fatal crashes to those in the evening.
The next graphic takes information from TomTom and shows the rush hour traffic congestion for each of the 10 deadliest cities. It also shows how much time was lost per driver for the entire year due to that traffic congestion.
The 10 deadliest cities were very consistent in terms of congestion and which rush hour had the most congestion or time lost. During the morning rush hours, drivers spent an additional 13 minutes per trip. During evening rush hours, that number jumped to 18 minutes.
In every city, the commute time for evening rush hours took longer than the commute time for morning rush hours.
Baton Rouge saw the largest difference, with 11 minutes of additional time during morning rush hour commutes versus 20 minutes for evening rush hour commutes.
On the other hand, the 10 deadliest cities varied considerably when it came to the average time lost per year due to traffic congestion during rush hours. The two with the smallest time lost per year were Boise and Pittsburgh — 87 hours total or three days and 15 hours. The one with the largest time lost per year was San Jose, with 158 hours lost per driver or six days and 14 hours.
Overall, the time lost due to traffic congestion during rush hours for the 10 deadliest cities averaged 121 hours or five days and one hour. How do these statistics relate to our entire sample of cities? Scroll down to find out more.
All 30 Cities Compared for Rush Hour Fatal Crashes
For our sample in this study, we looked at the 30 most heavily trafficked cities in America for 2019, according to traffic analysis industry leader TomTom. The 30 cities are from all regions of the country. However, some regions are more represented than others.
The following graph shows all 30 cities with their corresponding ranking, overall fatal crashes, rush hour fatal crashes, and the percentage of their fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour. The graph is interactive.
Hold your cursor over a city if you're on a laptop or desktop computer to reveal the statistics for an individual city. If you're on mobile, press your finger down on a city to see the same statistics.
As you can see, the West and the South have the most cities in this list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, with 13 cities in the West and 12 in the South. The Northeast has four cities in our 30-city sample, and the Midwest just has one — Chicago.
The total number of fatal crashes and rush hour fatal crashes vary considerably from city to city, often in relation to population or number of registered vehicles in those locations. However, the percentage of fatal crashes that occur during rush hour don't necessarily follow this pattern.
In some cities, just as Los Angeles, you'll see a high number of fatal crashes, but the percentage of fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour is actually very small compared to other cities. This is due to the ratio of fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour versus overall.
The spread between the worst city for rush hour fatal crashes and the least-worst city in our sample is a little more than 30 percent: 34.8 percent for Seattle in comparison to 4.4 percent for Cape Coral-Fort Meyers in Florida.
Honolulu, while added to our sample because it was within the 30 most heavily trafficked cities, actually didn't have a single rush hour fatality in 2019. If that statistic is taken out, the spread is 34.8 percent, meaning the relative danger of dying in a rush-hour wreck is much, much higher in Seattle compared to Honolulu.
The next graph shows the differences in morning and evening rush hour fatal crashes for all of the 30 cities included in this study to find the worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes in America.
Altogether, the 30 cities in our sample accounted for 293 rush hour fatal crashes in 2019. Like with the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, the fatal crashes are split fairly evenly between morning rush hour crashes and evening rush hour crashes — 144 fatal crashes to 149 fatal crashes.
The largest split between fatal crashes during the morning rush hours versus the fatal crashes during the evening rush hours is in Nashville, which had two fatal crashes during the morning rush hours in 2019 compared to nine fatal crashes during the evening rush hours.
Most other cities are fairly close in fatal crashes between those two rush hour periods — although keep in mind that one fatal crash can lead to numerous deaths.
Our final graph shows each of the 30 cities in our sample with how much time is lost to rush hours and the total amount of time lost in 2019. Like the others, it is interactive, so hold your cursor over a city or press down on one with your finger to see that city's specific statistics.
As you can see, the amount of time lost per rush hour ranges considerably. The two cities with the least amount of time lost to morning rush hours are Boise and Las Vegas. Morning commutes in those cities take eight minutes than a regular non-rush hour trip would take.
The city with the most amount of time lost to morning rush hours is Los Angeles, where a driver's commute takes them an additional 19 minutes compared to a non-rush hour trip.
When it comes to the evening rush hour, the city with the least amount of time lost is Fresno, with drivers losing 11 minutes during an evening rush hour commute compared to a non-rush hour trip. The city with the most amount of time lost is Los Angeles, where commuters lose 25 minutes compared to a non-rush hour trip.
Just like with our 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, evening commutes are longer on average than morning commute: a little over 17 minutes additional time, compared to a little less than 13 minutes additional time.
For all cities, the average time lost for each driver during rush-hour commutes in 2019 was 116 hours or four days and 20 hours. The cumulative total of time lost in all 30 cities for the average driver is 3,483 hours or 145 days and three hours.
When it comes to rush hour, drivers may become impatient and engage in risk maneuvers to beat the traffic to save some time on the way to work or getting home. This can make interstates or other roads more dangerous for other drivers. In the next section, we'll talk about the importance of defensive driving and driving tips for road safety that'll help you deal with dangerous drivers.
Driving Hazards During Rush Hour & Safety Initiatives
If you went into this study open-minded and curious whether fatal crashes rose during rush hour, you got your answer: In many of the most heavily trafficked cities in the United States, there is a remarkably higher risk of dying in a rush-hour fatal car crash than at other times.
While many of our 30 sample cities had just 5 percent of their fatal crashes occurring during rush hour, that percentage grew dramatically in the 10 worst cities, eventually hitting 34.8 percent in our deadliest city — Seattle.
Rush hours create driving hazards and dangers that most other times don't see with the average percentage of fatal crashes occurring during rush hour for all 30 states being 14.4 percent.
These include heavier traffic, congested roadways, and the need to be at work (or even home) at a specific time. This might result in dangerous driving behavior such as speeding or cutting in and out of lanes.
This can be even more pronounced if a city or county has problems with drunk driving. Although this seems like a nighttime problem, often people will drink during the early afternoon, then make the mistake of driving while drunk. This can lead to more fatal crashes during an afternoon rush hour, for instance.
Cities may try to combat some of the rush hour traffic problems with electronic billboards that inform drivers if there is a crash ahead or how long it'll take to reach a particular destination. Police officers may also be out, acting as deterrents to people who are speeding to get to work or their other destination.
One of the best ways to protect yourself in this environment is to practice defensive driving and not rushing to your destination, even if you have just a certain amount of time to get there.
2020 was a strange year for drivers and auto insurance companies as a worldwide pandemic led to quarantines and people driving much less than typical. Auto insurance companies ended up giving their policyholders some money back. Although COVID-19 caused history's largest fatal crash drop, it remains to be seen if that drop occurred throughout the entire year or in just the first few months when governors enacted stay-at-home orders.
Bad Driving Behaviors & Rush Hour Traffic Stress
Now that we've covered the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, it's time to hear from some major voices in today's business world about how they cope with rush hour traffic and some of the major frustrations they've experienced when trying to get to work on time.
From a cybersecurity expert in Pakistan to a cosplay writer in Canada and even a real estate investor in the center of traffic congestion in the nation (Los Angeles), here are four takes about traffic, danger, and stress during rush hour.
“In Chicago, the rush hour is usually much worse in the summertime than in the winter. You might think the ice and snow of a Chicago winter would make winter driving take much longer, but studies show that the opposite is actually true.
Chicago winters make it next to impossible to perform road work during the winter months, and the brutally cold temperatures Chicago is known for along with harsh rock salt and heavy snowplows mean that by springtime the city streets are in need of many repairs.
The winter season also makes the city undesirable to tourists who flock to the city from all over the world during the warmer months which lessens rush hour traffic.
For these reasons, Chicagoans expect to see a pronounced increase in drive times during their summer commutes.
The evening rush hour is typically worse than the morning rush hour. This is because in the morning, much of the population who are not heading to a 9-to-5 job are still asleep or have not left their homes yet.
Additionally, the 9-to-5 commuters tend to leave their homes at different times based on location, which means they’ll arrive at various highways at more naturally staggered intervals.
In the evening, however, office workers are condensed in the downtown area, and a large number of them will be trying to leave this densely populated area in a very brief span of time.
Cellphone use is a major problem in Chicago and can lead to many accidents. This is true even though using a cellphone while driving is illegal in Chicago.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents, and an accident during rush hour can back up traffic even further for miles.”
Jake McKenzie is a content manager for Auto Accessories Garage.
This family-owned business sells automotive parts and accessories.
“Traffic jams are probably one of the worst aspects of living in a big city. On top of that, each traffic jam poses a different problem. In the morning, most people are still a bit dreary.
A traffic jam brings loud horns, smoke, and constant shouting from other drivers. It is by no means the best way to start your day.
The afternoon rush is a bit different. It’s not because there are too many vehicles on the road. It’s probably because someone’s car broke down in the middle of the road or someone had an accident.
Depending on where you live, this could be the worst time for a traffic jam considering temperatures can reach upwards of 113 degrees Fahrenheit in my city (Karachi, Pakistan).
After all, who wants to be stuck in all that heat having to endure all the shouting and suffocation of being inside a car?
These traffic jams also bring out the worst in drivers. Impatience and abusive behavior is just the tip of the iceberg. The constant honking is by far the worst thing for me.
If there’s a jam that’s a mile long, how’s honking at me 20 times in a minute going to do anything? But apparently, that doesn’t stop some drivers from thinking otherwise.
This is also the main reason why I preferred working the evening shifts at my last job. The stress of having to reach my workplace on time on top of everything I mentioned above is a worry I can live without. I suppose most people are impatient because of that very reason.”
Yasir Nawaz, with Pure VPN, is a firm believer in the right to digital privacy.
He researches and writes about the latest developments in the world of AI and cybersecurity.
“I work in the afternoon, so while my commute to work can be very challenging, my commute from work is fairly easy and stress-free. So I’ll be speaking about my experience going to work.
My biggest challenge when driving during rush hour is predicting the traffic and the amount of time it takes to reach work. I use Google Maps to tell me how long the commute will be, so I generally have a good idea of when I need to leave the house to make it to work on time.
Accidents and road closures can suddenly happen though, and that 30-minute commute can be much longer than expected!
I drive on the world’s busiest highway (or so they say) and I’ve seen it all when it comes to bad driving behavior!
Some of these include: sudden lane changing, tailgating, merging onto the highway too early (i.e. before the dotted lines appear), getting cut off, and of course weaving in and out of different lanes like it’s a game of Frogger.
I have to admit that when I’m pressed for time and need to make it to work fast, I may do things that are considered riskier.
That would include: speeding up when the light turns yellow (but I never run a red, ever), getting my backpack ready to go in the car, going a little faster on the highway, making a U-turn on an intersection if the light is red for too long.
For me personally, I don’t let physical or emotional factors influence my driving. At the end of the day, you’re just trying to go to your job, and no amount of money or any high-risk behind the wheel is worth doing anything dangerous.
If the weather is bad or I’m not feeling well enough to drive, I’ll just take public transit instead.”
Roger Senpai is a professional cosplayer and writer at The Senpai Blog.
He spends his time writing on all things cosplay from budgeting to photography tips.
“I happen to live in good ole Los Angeles, California. Where it takes you one hour to move 20 miles. It’s insane and it drives me crazy! There is a lot of road rage and I think it’s because of the common accidents every single day and people just don't seem to learn.
I have to leave my house at 3:15 a.m. to be at work at 5:30 a.m. just so that I can beat the traffic jam.
There is a lot of cursing, honking on the freeway, and sometimes even fights (which are very common in Los Angeles) during rush hour.
The traffic gets worse right after people start to get off work from 3 p.m. and on. It takes me two hours to get home each day and I drive about 60 miles one way. It definitely takes a toll on my body every day and creates a high level of stress.
I can’t afford to live in Los Angeles, so I have to drive far so that I can make ends meet. It’s very, very hard as I don't have time to do anything during the week and as soon as I get home I just want to relax with the little time I have left.
I would like to see more changes in expanding the road and adding carpool lanes or even toll roads to ease off the traffic and have fewer accidents.
I have had many close calls as cars have crashed right next to me and in front of me and I was missed by an inch. I've been very fortunate not to have a major accident but I have seen people die on the freeway with instant deaths at the time of the accidents.
Always remember to drive safely. No texting and no drinking while behind the wheel.”
Alan Macias is a real estate investor at Sell Your House San Diego.
He enjoys real estate development and helping people out of tough housing situations.
30 Most Trafficked Cities Ranked by Rush Hour Fatal Crashes
If your city was not listed in the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes, you might be anxious to find out where your city stands in the ranking and how dangerous it is for you to drive during rush hours, to work or to home.
As we've covered, our sample covers just the 30 most trafficked cities in America as of 2019. The following table shows all 30 cities in our sample for each's overall ranking, the total number of fatal crashes in 2019, the number of fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour, and the percentage of fatal crashes occurring during rush hour.
|City||Total Fatal Crashes||Rush Hour Fatal Crashes||Rush Hour Fatal Crashes % of Total||Deadliest Cities Rank|
|New York City||208||48||23.1%||4|
|San Francisco||34||7||20.6%||6 (Tie)|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers||23||1||4.3%||29|
|Honolulu||16||no rush hour deaths||no rush hour deaths||30|
A higher number of cities fall into the 10 percent to 20 percent bracket compared to the below 10 percent bracket or above 20 percent bracket. Just seven cities have more than 20 percent of their fatal crashes occurring during rush hour.
California has three cities in the list of the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes — San Francisco, Riverside, and San Jose.
Even though Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the nation, just 12.6 percent of its fatal crashes occur during rush hour.
The next table shows all 30 cities for each of their fatal crashes during morning rush hours and fatal crashes during evening rush hours. Although there are some deviations, most cities don't see much of a difference between the number of morning rush hour fatal crashes compared to evening rush hour fatal crashes.
|City||Morning Rush Hour Fatal Crashes||Evening Rush Hour Fatal Crashes||Total Rush Hour Fatal Crashes|
|New York City||25||23||48|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers||0||1||1|
|Honolulu||no rush hour deaths||no rush hour deaths||no rush hour deaths|
The final table below shows each of the 30 cities' traffic congestion statistics including minutes lost in morning rush hour and evening rush hour commutes and time lost per year for the average driver. For a driver or worker, this lost time can hurt overall progress, upward mobility, or simply spending more time with friends and family.
Just three cities have more than six days lost in rush hour traffic per driver: San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles. Six cities have less than four days lost: Boise, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Fresno, New Orleans, and Cape Coral-Fort Meyers.
|City||Morning Rush Hour Minutes Lost||Evening Rush Hour Minutes Lost||Days/Hours Lost per Year due to Rush Hour|
|Seattle||16||20||5 Days, 18 Hours|
|Boise||8||14||3 Days, 15 Hours|
|Baton Rouge||11||20||4 Days, 23 Hours|
|New York City||16||21||5 Days, 22 Hours|
|Pittsburgh||10||13||3 Days, 15 Hours|
|Riverside||12||16||4 Days, 14 Hours|
|San Francisco||17||21||6 Days, 3 Hours|
|Portland||11||17||4 Days, 16 Hours|
|San Jose||18||23||6 Days, 14 Hours|
|Tampa||12||17||4 Days, 14 Hours|
|Las Vegas||8||12||3 Days, 6 Hours|
|Miami||16||19||5 Days, 13 Hours|
|Houston||13||18||4 Days, 23 Hours|
|Denver||11||15||4 Days, 7 Hours|
|Charleston||11||16||4 Days, 7 Hours|
|Los Angeles||19||25||6 Days, 23 Hours|
|Nashville||14||19||5 Days, 8 Hours|
|Fresno||9||11||3 Days, 8 Hours|
|Chicago||12||17||4 Days, 19 Hours|
|San Diego||14||18||5 Days, 4 Hours|
|Austin||14||20||5 Days, 13 Hours|
|Orlando||10||16||4 Days, 2 Hours|
|Atlanta||14||18||5 Days, 4 Hours|
|Philadelphia||11||16||4 Days, 9 Hours|
|Boston||14||16||4 Days, 19 Hours|
|New Orleans||10||14||3 Days, 20 Hours|
|Sacramento||13||17||4 Days, 19 Hours|
|Washington, D.C.||14||18||5 Days, 6 Hours|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers||9||12||3 Days, 8 Hours|
|Honolulu||17||19||5 Days, 15 Hours|
The 30 cities are balanced when it comes to lost time in rush hours with drivers in some cities losing a large amount of time and drivers in other cities losing much less time. Generally, smaller cities see drivers losing less time in rush hours compared to larger, denser cities.
This is especially true of California, which has the highest population in the United States and as such has the most cities in our sample. Smaller cities like Boise, Fresno, and New Orleans don't have as large of a population compared to other major cities in our sample, which decreases the time their drivers lose during rush hours.
Frequently Asked Questions: Most Deadly Crash Types and Annual Fatal Crashes
Now that we've covered the 10 worst cities for rush hour fatal crashes and the 30 cities overall in our sample, get ready for your frequently asked questions. Some questions that we answer include:
- How many car accident deaths happen per day in the United States?
- How many car deaths happen each year in the country?
- At what speed do most traffic deaths occur?
- What is the most dangerous crash to avoid?
And much more. Let's get started.
#1 – At what speed do most traffic deaths occur?
While there may not be a specific speed at which most traffic deaths occur given the number of different situations and contexts, the relationship between speed and fatal crashes is well known. Speeding contributes regularly to around 25 or more percent of fatal crashes, with the risk of fatal accidents rising the faster a driver goes.
It is thought that a car crash at 70 miles per hour will almost certainly result in a fatal accident due to loss of control of the vehicle at that high of a speed.
#2 – How many people die daily in traffic?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019 there were 33,244 fatal crashes. Because fatal crashes can include more than one traffic death, at least 91 people died in fatal car crashes every day. That's four per hour. Certain days are more dangerous than others, with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays considered the days you are most likely to die in a fatal car crash and days during the week being less dangerous.
Other factors include rush hours, like we have talked about, and nighttime driving, which often involves drunk, distracted, or speeding drivers.
#3 – Which country has the highest traffic deaths?
Namibia and other developing countries often have the highest traffic deaths per capita due to lack of safety rules and the poor condition of roads within a country, which can decrease the safety of drivers or cause drivers to react to poor conditions with dangerous maneuvers that can cause accidents and traffic deaths.
#4 – What causes the most traffic fatalities?
In recent years, there has been a debate about the most common cause of car crash deaths.
Although there seems to be a push that distracted driving causes the most fatal crashes, the research has consistently shown that drunk driving still remains the leading factor in fatal crashes, often accounting for more than 30 percent of a state's total fatal crashes.
Right behind that is speeding, which can also reach 30 percent or more of a state's fatal crashes, though often it is behind drunk driving as a cause of fatal crashes.
#5 – What is the most dangerous crash to avoid?
Head-on collisions are the most dangerous crashes and result in the most traffic injuries and deaths. While many people think of head-on collisions as when another car crosses over the median or midline onto the other side of traffic, it can also happen in single-vehicle accidents such as going off the road and running into a pole or a tree.
#6 – Can you survive a 70 mph crash?
Many driving experts or criminal attorneys believe that a fatal crash is almost inevitable at 70 mph due to loss of control of the vehicle, the possibility of a rollover, or just the sheer force of the accident on the driver's body. At this speed, it's also difficult to make out objects in the distance quickly enough to avoid them, especially if the person driving 70 mph is not on an interstate but on a dark rural road or another type of road that isn't built for that speed.
#7 – How many people die in traffic accidents each year?
While traffic deaths have been declining each year for some time, they are still routinely above 30,000 and have shown some signs of increasing in the past few years. That still is a large improvement from the traffic death rate in 1979, when traffic deaths exceeded 50,000, and the death rate was three times higher than it is today.
#8 – What is the most common crash?
Most would cite rear-end collisions as the most common type of crash. The statistics in 2019 bore that out, with rear-end collisions accounting for 595,000 crashes and angle collisions not far behind at 531,000. The number of sideswipes and head-on collisions was much smaller, with 138,000 sideswipe collisions and 91,000 head-on collisions.
The numbers for these collision types were based on collisions where at least one person was injured. For crashes when there was only property damage, rear-end collisions still lead with 1.6 million crashes, followed by angle collisions at 956,000, 740,000 sideswipe collisions, and 86,000 head-on collisions.
#9 – What is the most dangerous day of the week to drive?
The research about the most dangerous day of the week to drive has been clear for a number of years: weekend days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) are the most dangerous days to drive, while weekdays like Monday through Thursday are the safest days.
The worst day of the week to travel by car is Saturday, according to statistics from the NHTSA and the best day of the week to travel by car is either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the year, according to the same source.
Methodology: Determining the Worst Cities for Rush Hour Fatal Crashes
For this in-depth study analyzing the 10 worst American cities for rush hour fatal crashes in 2019, our researchers turned initially to a leading traffic analysis industry authority to determine the 30 most heavily trafficked cities in 2019.
After putting together that list, our experts deep-dived into the specifics for each city, creating three statistics that would form the basis of our study:
- Total fatal crashes in 2019
- Number of rush hour fatal crashes in 2019
- Percentage of total fatal crashes that occurred during rush hour
The last statistic became the ranking, with all 30 states ranked according to how many of their overall fatal crashes occurred during rush hour. Our researchers then went further and analyzed the fatal crashes for each city that occurred during the morning rush hour versus the evening rush hour.
Our analysts also looked at traffic congestion in all 30 cities — the added minutes a commuter needed to reach their destination in morning and evening rush hours as well as the lost time due to traffic congestion during rush hour for an individual driver in each city for the entire year.
Our experts took many of these statistics and created new ones, analyzing the differences in the morning versus evening rush hour fatal crashes.
Our experts also looked at the average percentage of fatal crashes occurring during rush hour for our 10 deadliest cities as well as all our 30 cities in the sample.
Using authoritative sources, our researchers transformed NHTSA's traffic death totals and Tom Tom's congestion reports into a picture of how American cities stack up.
Ensuring the safety of U.S. drivers is more important than ever, especially during the rush hours of each day.