Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver
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Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver

Editor's note: This post is the sixth in our series about Denver traffic. Click to read our previous items, "Denver's Longest Traffic Signal and Wait Times on Major Routes," "Denver's Fight to Prevent Total Traffic Gridlock Downtown," "Denver's Ten Most Dangerous Intersections," "Denver Traffic Deaths on Pace for One of the Highest Totals This Century" and "Denver Hit-and-Runs: Most Dangerous Days of the Week."

The most dangerous time to drive in Denver is between 5 and 6 p.m., when more than 1,300 accidents typically take place every year. That breaks down to an average of nearly four accidents during that hour every single day.

This estimate is based on Denver Police Department statistics compiled on the Denver Accident Map, a new resource developed by the O'Sullivan Law Firm. Attorney Scott O'Sullivan, the personal-injury practice's principal, came up with the idea along with brother-in-law and "super data nerd" Andrew Russette. The map, which is updated every 24 hours, offers a multiplicity of information that's easy to access and consistently fascinating.

"The Denver Police Department puts out information that isn't easily accessed by the public, but it's there," O'Sullivan allows. "So we're lucky to have the data, as well as a tool that conveys it in such a powerful way."

For instance, the accidents-per-hour stats tend to echo those related to the number of DUIs and DUIDs per time of day.

Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver
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"The numbers spike in the morning on Sundays, and the spikes start going higher on Thursday, Friday and Saturday," O'Sullivan points out. "We would prefer that no one would drink and drive, but you have to be aware that drunk drivers are out there — and you can see that the numbers drop on Tuesdays, when people aren't going out as much after work. But as the week progresses, the numbers get higher and higher."

Likewise, he goes on, "the DUI and DUID numbers are statistically insignificant from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. But there are clearly witching hours. Things start picking up at around 6 p.m. and go through about 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. And I can say anecdotally that I've seen evidence of that myself. There have been times on a Thursday when I'm picking up my son from a sporting event at 11 at night and I see people running red lights and swerving all over the place. It's insane. Unfortunately, there's a lot of impaired driving out there."

The accident totals in general are just as instructive. The map reveals that more than 100 accidents take place on average during the hours following midnight, 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., respectively, before sliding lower at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. But then, the accident amounts rise along with rush-hour volume, more than doubling from the 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. hours. More than 1,000 accidents happen each year during the 8 a.m. hour, and nearly as many in the hour after 9 a.m.

The accidents spike over 1,000 again at noon and 1 p.m., presumably because of folks rushing back and forth to lunch. The risks peak at 5 p.m., when an average of 1,329 accidents happen per annum, and while the accident sums begin to drift downward from 7 p.m. to midnight, plenty of dangers remain. A case in point is the 10 p.m. hour, which still sees at least one accident every day each year.

Continue to see average traffic information from 2012 through 2018 for each hour by month. We've italicized the figures for the most accidents per month, and as you'll see, May and October pop up on several occasions.

12 a.m.
January: 8
February: 10
March: 11
April: 13
May: 15
June: 12
July: 15
August: 15
September: 13
October: 16
November: 14
December: 13
Total: 155

1 a.m.
January: 8
February: 10
March: 6
April: 8
May: 8
June: 12
July: 7
August: 9
September: 11
October: 9
November: 11
December: 11
Total: 110

2 a.m.
January: 8
February: 7
March: 9
April: 8
May: 9
June: 9
July: 9
August: 10
September: 6
October: 8
November: 9
December: 9
Total: 101

3 a.m.
January: 5
February: 5
March: 5
April: 5
May: 4
June: 5
July: 7
August: 5
September: 6
October: 5
November: 5
December: 7
Total: 64

Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver
File photo

4 a.m.
January: 5
February: 4
March: 4
April: 4
May: 6
June: 6
July: 3
August: 4
September: 5
October: 6
November: 5
December: 5
Total: 57

5 a.m.
January: 10
February: 10
March: 8
April: 9
May: 8
June: 6
July: 7
August: 8
September: 7
October: 9
November: 11
December: 8
Total: 101

6 a.m.
January: 24
February: 21
March: 19
April: 19
May: 19
June: 18
July: 14
August: 19
September: 21
October: 25
November: 22
December: 24
Total: 245

7 a.m.
January: 68
February: 67
March: 60
April: 67
May: 63
June: 50
July: 41
August: 58
September: 67
October: 73
November: 57
December: 60
Total: 731

8 a.m.
January: 90
February: 92
March: 86
April: 85
May: 80
June: 76
July: 59
August: 93
September: 99
October: 99
November: 89
December: 89
Total: 1,037

Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver
File photo

9 a.m.
January: 86
February: 77
March: 70
April: 77
May: 76
June: 75
July: 61
August: 81
September: 86
October: 89
November: 78
December: 83
Total: 939

10 a.m.
January: 73
February: 60
March: 59
April: 67
May: 70
June: 69
July: 58
August: 75
September: 76
October: 81
November: 63
December: 74
Total: 825

11 a.m.
January: 68
February: 71
March: 65
April: 64
May: 80
June: 74
July: 61
August: 75
September: 72
October: 77
November: 76
December: 77
Total: 860

12 p.m.
January: 84
February: 75
March: 76
April: 87
May: 91
June: 81
July: 85
August: 92
September: 88
October: 84
November: 77
December: 95
Total: 1,015

1 p.m.
January: 80
February: 73
March: 77
April: 76
May: 87
June: 89
July: 74
August: 97
September: 86
October: 90
November: 79
December: 96
Total: 1,004

2 p.m.
January:73
February: 70
March: 77
April: 72
May: 89
June: 84
July: 74
August: 88
September: 85
October: 89
November: 82
December: 83
Total: 966

3 p.m.
January: 90
February: 86
March: 88
April: 92
May: 106
June: 85
July: 88
August: 101
September: 99
October: 100
November: 91
December: 98
Total: 1,124

4 p.m.
January: 103
February: 94
March: 96
April: 104
May: 110
June: 100
July: 96
August: 109
September: 106
October: 116
November: 93
December: 91
Total: 1,218

5 p.m.
January: 106
February: 103
March: 106
April: 104
May: 123
June: 120
July: 99
August: 117
September: 116
October: 120
November: 106
December: 109
Total: 1,329

Most Dangerous Times of Day to Drive in Denver
File photo

6 p.m.
January: 101
February: 85
March: 89
April: 89
May: 106
June: 97
July: 80
August: 100
September: 100
October: 96
November: 103
December: 100
Total: 1,146

7 p.m.
January: 61
February: 58
March: 59
April: 56
May: 61
June: 65
July: 56
August: 65
September: 65
October: 73
November: 71
December: 65
Total: 755

8 p.m.
January: 37
February: 38
March: 42
April: 39
May: 42
June: 45
July: 34
August: 39
September: 49
October: 51
November: 46
December: 45
Total: 507

9 p.m.
January: 33
February: 27
March: 34
April: 32
May: 35
June: 33
July: 33
August: 35
September: 36
October: 36
November: 32
December: 33
Total: 399

10 p.m.
January: 27
February: 27
March: 31
April: 34
May: 35
June: 36
July: 36
August: 37
September: 37
October: 34
November: 34
December: 36
Total: 404

11 p.m.
January: 20
February: 20
March: 20
April: 22
May: 23
June: 23
July: 23
August: 28
September: 24
October: 21
November: 22
December: 23
Total: 269

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