What Time Are Most Trucks on the Road?

What time are most trucks on the road?

Have you ever wondered why, at certain times of day, there are more trucks than at other times?

We see big trucks around us wherever we drive, whether on city streets or major highways. Tractor-trailers follow schedules, and while most of us are all too familiar with “rush hour” traffic, these big rigs don’t appear to follow the same traffic flow.

Are you curious as to what time are most trucks on the road? In this post, we’ll explain “truck hour” as well as which days have the most accidents. We’ll also discuss where these crashes happen and what you can do to avoid an accident like a head-on collision with a large truck.

Busiest Times for Big Rigs

Although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that most fatal truck accidents occur between 12 pm and 3 pm, that time frame is specifically when more tractor-trailers are driving alongside smaller vehicles during peak traffic times. This does not mean that time is when most 18-wheelers are on the road.

There are three main “truck hour” periods during the day:

  • 1 am – 4 am
  • 6 am – 10 am
  • 7 pm – 10 pm

These are times when truckers prefer to drive as it’s either more convenient for meeting deadlines or there are fewer other vehicles on the road. Tractor-trailer operators often push the limits of expected delivery times, which results in rushing to stores either as they open or right before they close.

Additionally, a lot of truck drivers prefer as few other cars as possible around them to lower the potential for severe accidents.

Deadliest Days for 18-Wheeler Collisions

According to 2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 78% of fatal crashes with trucks occur on weekdays and of those crashes that occur during weekdays, 71% happened between 6 am and 5:59 pm.

Additional IIHS data shows that of all the days of the week, Wednesday and Thursday have the most fatal accidents occurring, 856 and 842, respectively.

Sunday sees the fewest fatal accidents, with only 339.

Where Do Most Truck Accidents Happen?

It’s a given that when more trucks are driving, more accidents will happen.

So, now that we’ve given the details of the times and days when most trucks are on the road, let’s dig into where most wrecks involving them occur. Of course, these crashes can happen anywhere, and the previously mentioned IIHS data shows the following percentages for roadways where fatal truck accidents occur:

  • Major roadways (not interstates and freeways): 48%
  • Interstates and freeways: 36%

States With the Highest Amount of Fatal Tractor-Trailer Crashes

Due to more highways, heavier traffic flow, and more overall distribution, certain states are more likely than others to have fatal truck collisions. The top five states with the most fatal trucking accidents, according to the NHTSA, are:

  • Texas: 6,510
  • California: 6,114
  • Florida: 5,482
  • Georgia: 2,640
  • North Carolina: 2,363

So, if you live in or are planning on driving through any of these states, be aware of the peak times and worst days for truck accidents. Also, check out our tips ( below) for safer driving near 18-wheelers.

Driving Safely Around Trucks

Although eliminating truck accidents is impossible, there are some things that drivers of smaller vehicles can do to be safer while on the road with big rigs.

Here are some of the easiest and most important tips to remember when driving near trucks:

  • Pass on the left whenever possible. Truck blind spots are much larger on the right, so if you have to pass on the right, make sure to do so as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • Never drive too closely in front or behind. Tractor-trailers can’t stop as quickly as smaller vehicles, especially at higher rates of speed on highways and interstates.
  • If you can’t see the driver, chances are likely they won’t see you. Truck drivers have limited sight distance, even with large side mirrors, so they can’t see cars that are too close to them.
  • Give them room to turn. 18-wheelers make wide right turns and often need to take up multiple lanes and more space to do so properly and safely.
  • Pay attention. Always drive without distractions, such as eating, using an electronic device, or talking to passengers, as this will limit your reaction time.

Accidents involving big rigs happen all the time, and when they do, the resulting damage and injuries are often devastating for those in smaller vehicles.

If you have suffered due to a collision with a tractor-trailer, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses. Our Trucking Injury Law Group team is available for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.