Here's when you don't want to be on the road

We're now into the 100 most dangerous days to be on the road -- summer days between Memorial and Labor Day when everyone seems to be texting and speeding at the same time. But since we have to drive, wouldn't it be great to know the very worst day of the week and the most dangerous hour to be out on the interstate as a target for automotive mayhem during these hectic months?

Now we do. EverQuote, an online insurance marketplace, has just completed its second annual survey of the most dangerous times and conditions for driving in America. The results are based on its EverDrive app, which recorded more than 20 million vehicle trips and 230 million miles driven. This voluntary app allows your cellphone to measure your global position, acceleration and whether your devices are on or off. It can even tell if your phone is in your shaky hand.

Here are some of its findings:

  • About 10 percent of all drives include speeding, and traveling well over the posted speed limit 9 percent of the time. On a 21-minute average trip, such as dropping the kids off at school, that adds up to two minutes of speeding. And at 55 miles an hour, that equates to distracted driving over the length of 17 football fields, EverQuote claimed.
  • With fewer cars on the road, "early birds" speed the most, on more than half the trips between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. In fact, more than two-thirds of the cars on the road between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. were found to be speeding.
  • However, when it came to cellphone use, the afternoon driving hours were the most chatty. Between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., 68 percent of drivers were using their phone for calls, texting or social media, in some cases defying state laws. Women were the biggest offenders, using their phones in four out of 10 rides. The same grim statistic was true for people under the age of 21, who have the most casualties on the road (and pay the highest insurance rates).  
  • Thursday and Friday were the days when distracted driving occurred most frequently. Friday is also the day when people -- in a hurry to get home or on to their vacation -- put pedal to the metal and accelerated the most. Risky acceleration occurred during 15 percent of their drives.

EveQuote is also initiating its second "Safe Driving Challenge" that awards a $1,000 scholarship to the safest driver in each state. Of course, that means downloading the EverDrive app and perhaps being one of those "bad driver" statistics --  if you're not careful.  

  • Ed Leefeldt

    Ed Leefeldt is an award-winning investigative and business journalist who has worked for Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones, and contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is also the author of The Woman Who Rode the Wind, a novel about early flight.