The 10 Worst Days of the Year to be on the Road
Car accidents can happen at any time, but it appears that on some days it is more dangerous to be on the road than others. In some cases, this has to do with a larger amount of cars on the road, and in many cases, this has to do with days where people are more likely to drink (and drive). In no particular order, the following are the 10 worst days of the year to be on the road.
NFL Game Day, Especially Super Bowl Sunday
NFL games are big events across the country, and attendance at a game is often preceded by standing around the parking lot and watching/reliving your team’s best moments, nostalgia often fueled by a lot of beer (a.k.a. tailgating). Interestingly, traffic incidents tend to increase more on game day when the home team has lost, and less when the home team has won.
Similarly, alcohol-related car crashes increase on Super Bowl Sunday, as people drive home from wherever they have watched the game (with, undoubtedly, more than a few drinks).
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is a more dangerous day to be on the road than New Year’s Eve, perhaps because people do not stumble into their cars to drive home until after the clock has struck twelve. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, January 1st is the day that annually has the highest record of alcohol-related traffic deaths (with 42% of all traffic fatalities from 2007-2011 on that day related to drinking and driving).
Drivers should be aware at all hours of the day on July 4th, as many people start drinking early, perhaps while they are prepping the barbecue. Moreover, a lot of people travel on July 4th, so there are more cars generally on the road.
Labor Day & Memorial Day
Like the Fourth of July, these days – marking the beginning and end of summer – are days during which there are a lot of drivers on the road and a lot of people celebrating with barbecues and beer. Traffic accidents and alcohol-related traffic fatalities tend to increase on these days every year. Specifically, some studies have cited that 44% of all traffic fatalities on Memorial Day are alcohol-related, and there is a 300-400% increase in traffic deaths on Labor Day from the average day of the year.
Known as a day when we all eat too much, Thanksgiving is also a day when a lot of people are on the road, driving to get to and from their Thanksgiving dinners, not to mention a day where people tend to drink a lot (often in conjunction with an NFL game, as per the above).
St. Patrick’s Day
It goes without saying that St. Patrick’s is a big drinking day in the United States, and, it should be unsurprising that St. Patrick’s often makes the list of most dangerous days to drive in any given year. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the NHTSA) found that between 2009 and 2013, 276 people were killed on the road over St. Patrick’s Day weekends, and that 2 out of every 5 traffic fatalities on those weekends were due to drunk driving.
Friday the 13th
Unrelated to drinking, and seemingly unrelated to other immediately obvious causes, traffic accident claims seem to increase on Friday the 13th.
The Start of Daylight Savings
It appears that losing an hour of sleep and adjusting to your clocks turning back could have an effect on people’s driving skills. A division of the NHTSA found a 17% increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the start of daylight savings time, and other studies have shown a rise in traffic fatalities over the first few days of daylight savings time.
The period around Christmas can be more dangerous for drivers, with some studies showing that traffic collisions increases in December. Experts speculate that Christmas can generally be a stressful time, and there are more cases of aggressive driving and road rage around this time. Further, with holiday travel and shopping, there are more drivers on the road during this period.
It is the day after Thanksgiving, individuals may be hungover or still suffering from food coma when they stumble out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Moreover, there are often insufficient parking spaces in shopping malls to deal with this once-yearly huge influx of shoppers. Unsurprisingly, therefore, parking lot accidents spike sharply on this day, namely, by 36% over 2010 to 2011.