ARIZONA, USA — Every day, bumper-to-bumper traffic seems to be accompanied by sirens.
It can feel like that all the time on Arizona roadways, but the worst time is during the evening rush hour.
In Arizona, rush hour actually lasts three hours.
The 3 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. hours finished first, second and third for the time periods with the most accidents in 2021.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation's 2021 data, the rush hour period averaged more than 5,000 accidents per hour than the rest of the day.
“You see schools getting out, and some people are getting off at work," Brendan Russo, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Northern Arizona University, said. “Total crashes are generally highly correlated with traffic volumes.”
The 3 p.m is the worst of the worst. You have school buses and people rushing home from work or school, mixing with distracted drivers.
The worst spots during these worst hours? Our major highways. Specifically, the major merging points on Interstate-10, the 202, the 17, and the 101.
So what can be done?
“We know humans are going to make mistakes. The hope is to design our systems to accommodate our mistakes,” Russo said.
A popular idea among engineers is to design systems to minimize how harmful human mistakes may be.
That could be anything from more roundabouts, to speed limits, to how much room you have on the side of the road.
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