Daylight Saving Time ended in Israel on October 27, when we turned back our clocks, ushering in winter months when darkness falls about an hour earlier, and we enter the season of sporadic rain, thunder and lightning, steaming cups of hot cocoa, and… traffic accidents.
According to the Or Yarok traffic safety non-profit organization, the risk of traffic accidents increases significantly during the winter months. Winter downpours lead to rain-slicked, muddy streets, which considerably heighten the possibility that a vehicle may lose traction and slide out of control. The fact that Israeli winters are characterized by long periods between rainfalls does not improve this situation. On the contrary, these dry spells mean that every rainfall is like the “first rain,” when there is increased danger of skidding.
According to statistics provided by Or Yarok, based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), during the past decade (2008-2017) in the winter months more than 14,000 people were injured in traffic accidents resulting from wet or muddy condition on the roads, and about 220 people were killed – an average of 22 people a year.
Approximately half of those hurt in these accidents were injured within the city limits and the boundaries of the residential areas. The city where the accidents which took place were found to have the highest number of casualties was Jerusalem.
One might have assumed that the rain played a major role, but according to data provided by the Meteorological Service (for the years 1980-2010) the number of rainy days in Jerusalem (60) was similar to the number in Tel Aviv (56).
The data doesn’t necessarily indicate that Jerusalem has the highest risk of traffic accidents, since it is the largest city in Israel in terms of number of residents, and is a major city to which people drive from all over the country, so that the number of traffic accidents which occur there is greater, when compared to other cities.
Beyond the weather-related risk which is present during the winter months, Or Yarok found that in Israel over the course of a year the risk of traffic accidents increases on specific days and at specific hours. According to an analysis conducted by the organization, which was based on CBS statistics (for 2013-2017) for the number of people injured in accidents, the day of the week when one is most in danger of being injured in a traffic accident is Thursday, followed by Sunday. In Jerusalem, the most dangerous days are first Sunday, followed by Thursday; in Tel Aviv the most dangerous days are Sunday and Monday; in Petah Tikva Wednesday and Sunday; and in Netanya, Friday and Wednesday are the days when the risk is highest.
As to the most dangerous hours, according to an Or Yarok analysis of the CBS statistics for 2018, across Israel, the time when one is most likely to be injured in a traffic accident is between 16:00 and 17:00. This is also the most dangerous hour in Jerusalem, while in Tel Aviv it is the hour between 14:00 and 15:00, in Haifa the hour between 16:00 and 17:00, and in Beersheba the 60 minutes between 18:00 and 19:00.
Translated by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann