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Friday rush hour is the most dangerous time to drive LA’s freeways

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A high traffic volume plus the rush to celebrate the weekend might be to blame


Friday is the most dangerous day of the week to be on the road in LA, and Friday rush hour is the most dangerous time, according to a new analysis of LA traffic data by USC’s Integrated Media Systems Center and the Annenberg School.

About 23 percent more crashes took place between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Fridays—about 5,000 collisions in 2016—than occurred during the same hours on Wednesdays. All told, 30,756 crashes took place on LA freeways on Fridays that year. “After combing through accident data for the past four years, Friday night consistently wins the unenviable prize for most dangerous,” USC’s analysis concluded.

To arrive at the conclusion, USC looked at information culled from about 25,000 sensors embedded in Los Angeles freeways and surface streets.

One reason Friday is the most dangerous day to be on the road? It’s also the day with the highest traffic volume.

But that doesn’t fully explain the day’s heightened hazardousness. “It is a matter of high traffic volume combined with drivers’ urge to either get home for the weekend, get to a Friday night party or leave town,” said Jeffrey Spring, communications manager for the American Automobile Association.

USC’s project, called Crosstown Traffic, was a collaboration between USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Integrated Media Systems Center.

In addition to zeroing in on the most dangerous days and times to be on the road, the project also identified LA’s most collision-prone roads and its least-punctual city bus.

Touting itself as “the most comprehensive database ever assembled on Los Angeles traffic,” the Crosstown Traffic project contains information and insights on traffic congestion, collisions, and even public transportation from 2012 to 2016.