Unfortunately, you always face risk whenever you get behind the wheel. Many people might think that they face a higher risk of a wreck when they drive in crowded cities or on busy interstate highways, where it is common to come across traffic and speeding drivers.
However, several studies over the years indicate that the risk of a wreck might actually increase the closer you are to home.
Studies agree: Wrecks more likely near home
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most car wrecks occur within 25 miles of your home. This information is not unheard of – one recent study from Austria even found that 25% of wrecks occur within the first three minutes drivers are on the road.
Why are wrecks common close to home?
There are a few reasons this high risk exists.
One is that many trips you take are not that long. You commute to and from work, run errands and perhaps pick up your child from school, but these trips rarely take you far from home. In fact, a 2015 study from AAA found that the average American drives only 29.2 miles each day.
Given the limited average miles driven each day, it is easy to see why wrecks often occur close to home.
However, this does not downplay the other risks you could face when driving closer to home. Regardless of the duration of the trip, driving near home involves higher risks often because of how familiar you are with the area.
This may sound contradictory, but familiarity can pose a risk for drivers as they:
- Feel more relaxed and overconfident, and do not engage in defensive driving
- May rely on muscle memory in places they drive frequently
- Get distracted easily in areas they know well
A life-changing crash can happen anywhere. Even if you drive in a familiar area, you must ensure you always remain alert, so you can stay safe whenever you are behind the wheel.