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This is what happens on US roads during New Year's Eve

This is what happens on US roads during New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve will see millions of people hit the streets of America to share champagne, kisses and resolutions. Inevitably many of you will drive, and some of you will hit traffic.

Whatever your plans, HERE wants you to play it safe. So we asked our traffic team, which monitors traffic around the country in real time 24 hours a day every day of the year, to give us the dirt on what happened last year.

We hope it helps you have a hassle free, ball dropping New Years!

DC stands for Drive Careful

The HERE traffic team not only tracks traffic, it also monitors road incidents in the U.S., defined as anything that results in a large impact on traffic.

According to our data, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, the three largest cities in the US, not surprisingly saw the most accidents on New Year’s Eve. Chicago, for example, saw 81 accidents that severely affected traffic over the course of 12 hours starting at 6pm on December 31st last year.

When you take the size of the city out of the equation, however, Washington DC – the 23rd largest U.S. city -- rises to the top of the pack. In ratio to its roughly 650,000 inhabitants, the nation’s capital saw the most accidents per capita on New Year’s Eve last year.

While we can’t say exactly why that is, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that over 70% of people employed inside Washington DC live outside the city. Perhaps a large number of those daily commuters will make their way into the city to celebrate the New Year. Consider using HERE apps to get transit directions to the capital instead.

Make it an all-nighter

We also looked at time of night accidents were most frequent, and the data indicates, rushing to make that midnight deadline might not be a good idea.

The US saw an average of 1098 accidents an hour from 6pm New Year's Eve to 6am that next morning, versus just 336 accidents per hour during that same 12-hour period averaged over the course of 2013.

The number of accidents across the US stayed stable during the early hours of the evening, hovering under 400 per hour. By 10pm, however, accidents began to spike reaching 700 in that hour.

Between 11pm and midnight, accidents reached their peak at 2825, which equals nearly one accident a second across the country. Traffic accidents remained over 2000 an hour until 2am, and fell to around 800 an hour in the early hours of the New Year.

Cleveland rocks (and Cincinnati too)

I bet you’re wondering which cities are safest for New Year’s drivers. According to our data, residents of Ohio can rest easy. Both Cleveland and Cincinnati made it into the top ten cities with the fewest traffic accidents on the last day of the year in relation to their population.

The northwest also ranked high on the list with Seattle and Portland ranking 6th and 7th.

Lastly, it turns out New York City, arguably the most notable New Year’s city in the world, is one of the safer cities to drive, when you take its population into account. It ranked 8th on the list.

Image credits: Sascha Kohlmann, niXerKG

Christopher Lawton

Christopher Lawton

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