On Interstate 5, beware of Friday afternoons. That seems to be the most dangerous time to drive on western Oregon’s main north-south highway.
Before Thanksgiving, the Oregon State Police joined the highway patrols of California and Washington in a publicity event urging drivers to be extra careful over the weekend, especially on Pacific Highway 1, another name for the interstate that links our three Pacific states. “Arrive Alive on I-5” was the catchy motto.
For this occasion the OSP dug out accident statistics. On Oregon’s segment of the road in 2012, crashes numbered an even 2,000, resulting in nine deaths and 1,427 people hurt. Of all the crashes, more than half were rear-enders, which should remind you of the wisdom of keeping far enough away from the car in front and watching your speed. And Fridays had the largest single share (361) of all 2,000 wrecks.
The vast majority of all crashes happened in the afternoon, between 1 and 6 p.m., with the largest single number per hour, 228, between 5 and 6. Maybe that’s because when people get off work they are tired and impatient, and their reflexes are slowed.
November, sad to say, was the worst single month for the number crashes (242) and people injured (171). Two of the nine fatalities happened in November.
While the numbers show certain patterns, crashes result whenever drivers fail to keep their mind on their driving, and that can happen any time, not just on Friday afternoons in November. But especially then. (hh)