Bay Area commutes are more dangerous than we’d thought. The average commute is 23 miles, clocking in at 59 minutes. That’s a lot of “wasted” time, and more and more, drivers are trying to multitask. (Our recent study showed that 9 out of 10 drivers compromise their safety by focusing on their phone while behind the wheel!) The trend towards more phone use while driving is only increasing, putting everyone in danger.
So what can you do about it? Other than putting down your own phone while driving, you can aim your commute at the safest routes and the safest times.
We mapped out the major highways and commute routes across the San Francisco Bay Area and analyzed over 20 Million miles driven on them (100 thousand drivers on 1.25 Million trips), giving us a safety snapshot of November 2017. We measured phone use while driving, as well as hard braking, speeding and fast acceleration, to get an idea of how safe these roads really are.
Here’s what we learned:
- For morning commutes (6 a.m. to 11 a.m.), the Golden Gate bridge is the safest bridge; the San Mateo Bridge overall is the most dangerous.
- Lunch-hour driving (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) is riskier than rush hour driving for either the morning or evening commute. More than 50 percent of the routes are riskier during lunch hour.
- Bay Area bridge with the riskiest commute: San Mateo Bridge
- Worst commute time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Best commute time: 6-7 a.m.
- Best route: Oakland to San Francisco, I-580W (U.S. 101 is safest overall, with four of the five safest routes)
- Worst route: I-280, all directions (with nearly 3x as much speeding as U.S. 101)
- I-101 has more traffic in all directions and a greater number of collisions, but drivers on I-280 show riskier behavior behind the wheel and proportionally I-280 is a riskier commute on a per mile basis.
Here’s what you can do:
- Change your commute. If you drive at a particularly risky time, or on one of the riskier roads, use this data to make your day safer and swap to a less risky route.
- Get off your phone. Or, if you can’t spare the time off your phone, switch to carpooling, transit, or ridesharing so you don’t need to drive while distracted!
- Share this. Your colleagues drive the same routes too. Let them know there’s a safer alternative!