When are Indiana drivers most likely to crash?

P.M. rush hour, December most common for wrecks

INDIANAPOLIS - In Indiana, you're most likely to get into a crash during the afternoon rush hour (3-5:59 p.m.) on weekdays, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.

"The biggest commonality you'll find is there's a lot more traffic on the road (at that time)," said David Garrison, traffic safety director for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The agency was involved in a 2012 traffic study that looked at collisions by month and time of day.

"It could be stress from their day where they're not paying attention," Garrison added.

Data pulled by Kenney shows police worked 40 different crashes in the Indianapolis metro area during the afternoon rush hour last Friday.

While collisions were most common during the drive home from work, the highest proportion of fatal crashes in 2012 happened on Sundays and Fridays between midnight and 3 a.m.

"Seatbelt use trends down during the night time," Garrison said. "There's also a higher risk of individuals who are intoxicated or impaired being on the road."

Indiana had 188,841 traffic crashes in 2012 involving property damage or injury, including 718 fatal wrecks.

The study found December was the month with the most collisions -- 18,735 -- but the deadliest crashes occurred during the summer months.

Garrison said it's not clear why December had the most crashes, though a lot of people travel during the holidays, and it's often dark and cold during the last month of the year.

"It's really tough for us to tell," Garrison said. "There could have been environmental factors that year, it could have been weather. From year to year, those months will actually change."

Of course, you can't stop driving during December or rush hour, but Garrison said you can control how you drive.

"When you're making a choice to follow too closely, change lanes incorrectly, pass incorrectly, to speed, those are all choices that can increase our risk of collisions, injuries and fatalities," Garrison said.

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