10 Tips to Get You Through a Trip to the ER

Timing is Everything
Emergency rooms are typically busiest during the hours most people aren’t at work or school. © Comstock/Thinkstock

Here's a statistic that may make you think twice about going to the ER: Patients admitted for hospital treatment after being first seen in an overcrowded emergency department have a 5 percent greater chance of dying than patients whose ER experience was less crowded [source: Groeger]. Timing your visit to the ER, which by the nature of the situation may not be possible, can be smart time management. And also, apparently, smart for your overall health — if you can pull it off. (Of course, accidents aren't always polite about happening at the most convenient time.)

Emergency departments have busy trends throughout the day and night, coinciding with the hours we're not at work or in school. For example, weekend trips to an ER are typically going to be crowded. Before work (before 8 a.m.) or after 5 p.m. on weekdays are busy, too. And Mondays in the ER can be brutal. Decrease your wait time by arriving between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., preferably aiming to get there before 11 a.m. [source: Marte].