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Senior Construction Risk Engineering Consultant, AXA XL

There have been many studies done on when it is most dangerous to drive.  Some studies look at when the most auto accident fatalities occur and others look into when it is most dangerous for teens to be on the road.  The data gets sliced and diced many ways with differing results depending on what drivers are included in the data, or even on what part of the country is studied.

For XL Catlin Construction clients, the most likely time to be involved in an automobile crash is October.  A 2017 data review showed that  11.5% of all Auto claims for XL Catlin insured contractors resulted from incidents that occurred in October.  The second most claims come from incidents that occurred in November, representing 9%. 

So what it is about October and November that make automobile crashes more likely?  It’s hard to know for sure, but there are a few things to consider:

  • Sunrises get later and later each day and sunsets come earlier each day.  We lose nearly an hour of daylight over  the month of October. This leads to more on-the-job driving during twilight and darkness as the month goes on.

  • In early November, most of us switch back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings time.  While that gives us a chance at an extra hour of sleep for one day, it suddenly moves sunset a full hour earlier in the day with no opportunity for us to adapt.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition driven by a lack of exposure to sunlight and it affects as much as 20% of the population to some degree.  It results in reduced alertness and some level of impaired decision making in those who suffer from it.  For those it affects in the Northern Hemisphere, it usually kicks in during the month of October.

What can we do about it? 

Awareness: For starters, we can let our driving employees know that they’re approaching the most dangerous time of year for on-the-job driving.  Sometimes just awareness of a hazard gives us an opportunity to make better decisions. 

Review Schedules: Daily schedules for activities that require driving can be reviewed.  If it’s possible to shift driving tasks to later or earlier in the day to avoid dawn/twilight and night driving, it is wise to do so. 

SAD Support: Talk with your employees and let them know that if they’re affected by SAD, there are simple, effective treatments like light therapy and vitamin supplements that have proven to work for most sufferers.  Their doctor can help them find the best solution.

Defensive Driving Training: Lastly, if you’re thinking about doing defensive driver training for your workforce, this is the time of year when it could prove most beneficial.  Your XL Catlin Construction Risk Engineer can help you find an effective driver training solution.

For more information about this and other emerging construction risks, talk with your XL Catlin Construction Risk Engineer.



About the Author

Fred A. LeSage, CRIS, is Senior Construction Risk Engineering Consultant for XL Catlin’s North America Construction team. He can be reached at

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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.