Is Friday the 13th a deadly day to drive?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • People have been afraid of Friday the 13th since the 5th Century
  • Friday the 13th has religious roots that trace back to the Last Supper
  • Horror movies have kept the fear of Friday the 13th alive and strong
  • 21 million people admit to feeling anxiety during this “unlucky” day
  • No more than three Friday the 13ths can happen in a calendar year
  • Friday the 13th had an average of 108.6 traffic deaths over 22 years

Superstition has followed Friday the 13th since the Middle Ages. Also known as the Medieval Period, this was a time of darkness, confusion, and illiteracy where many were ruled by fear of the unknown.

“They created tales and stories about fantastical beasts, some of whom lived in far-off lands, while others could lurk much closer, offering an ever-present threat to medieval man.”

Friday the 13th also has religious roots that date back to the Last Supper, where 13 individuals sat around the table on the 13th day of the month the very night before Jesus’ crucifixion . . . just a coincidence??

How it Thrives Today


The horror movie franchises have made a pretty penny playing off of the worst fears of Friday the 13th making this (fortunately rare) day a difficult one to ignore even in our advanced, modern day.

Friday the 13th made $773.4 million at the box office and is the second highest-grossing horror movie series of all time.

Reports show that about 21 million people feel at least mild anxiety during this notoriously unlucky day.

“It’s been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do.” – Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, NC

The fear of this day certainly hasn’t faded since the 15th century.

More to Come

Dangerous driving on Friday the 13th

An extra horrifying Friday the 13th is just around the corner. This one will arrive in October which has plenty of scary superstitions to worry about thanks to Halloween.

Now would be a good time to find out if Friday the 13th is a bad day to drive. Are you more likely to get in a fatal car crash on this unlucky day? Read on if you dare to see what the statistics show.

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Using reports provided by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), we looked at fatal car crashes that occurred from 1994 to 2015.

For every single fatal collision during those 22 years, we determined and tracked three facts:

  • Day it Occurred
  • Day/Number Combo (e.g., Monday the 21st)
  • Frequency of that Combo (in the 22 years)

Using over 100,000 data points on every Car Crash Death from 1994 to 2015, we were then able to calculate the following:

  • Annual Total
  • Annual Average
  • Everyday Average
  • Average on a Friday
  • Average on the 13th
    . . . AND the item of focus **DRUM ROLL PLEASE**
  • Average on Friday the 13th

Friday ther 13th All Fatalities

(To see all of this rather daunting data, click here.)

Deadly Driving Day?


Is Friday the 13th a dangerous day to drive? Putting superstition aside for a moment, let’s focus on the facts.

– Fact #1

No more than three Friday the 13ths can happen in one calendar year.

Fortunately, 2017 only has two — Friday, October 13th being the second. Today, you can always know when one is coming.

– Fact #2

In the 22 years studied, Friday the 13th had the largest amount of fatal crashes compared to the three other main averages we found.

Everyday Average96.7
Average Friday107
Average 13th96
Average Friday the 13th108.6

From 1994 to 2015, an average of 108.6 traffic deaths happened on Friday the 13th, which was more than both the average of everyday crashes and more than those occurring on any other Friday or 13th of the month.

A little healthy fear of this day certainly wouldn’t hurt.

– Fact #3

You are more likely to be killed driving on a Friday the 13th in October than any other month of the year.

Friday the 13th by Month

(To see a larger picture, click the picture | To interact with this graphic, click here.)

We found out some rather unsettling and unexpected information from our study.

Looking at every single Friday the 13th fatal crash in 22 years, more happened in October than any other month, and not just a little more either — it was a significant difference out of the twelve months.

A deadly car crash is 23 percent more likely to occur in October than on any other Friday the 13th all year.

This fact is certainly not something to ignore, especially since one of these rare days is lurking just around the corner.

Hopefully Friday, October 13, 2017, doesn’t wreak too much havoc on our roadways.

– Fact #4

With some further digging, the data proved that Friday the 13th actually is not the most dangerous day to drive.

Day and Date Combo

(To see a larger picture, click the picture | To interact with this graphic, click here.)

The deadliest combo turned out to be Saturday the first with an average of 131.3 road fatalities.

Looking at every single one of the 8,035 days in our study, Friday the 13th ranked the 48th worst day to drive.

Out of all the Fridays during the 22 years we studied, Friday the 13th was the ninth most dangerous day to drive.

Friday the 31st was actually the most dangerous Friday with an average of 114.2 fatalities.

– Fact #5

Weekends are the most dangerous days to drive.

Day of the Week

(To see a larger picture, click the picture | To interact with this graphic, click here.)

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Saturdays and Sundays have a higher number of crash victims than any other day of the week with a shocking 143 average deaths.

What’s also eye-opening is that from 1994 to 2015 the 93 days with the most car accident deaths of all the days in those 22 years were all Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Friday the 13th isn’t what you should be worried about . . . the data shows there’s a greater risk of deadly crashes over the weekends and at the beginning and end of each month.

Driving Safety Tips


Whether or not you’re superstitious, there’s no harm in being extra cautious behind the wheel on Friday the 13th – or any day for that matter

No matter what day it is, here are 10 important safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep your Vehicle Safe with Regular Maintenance
  2. Drive Defensively, not Aggressively
  3. Be Aware of your Surroundings and other Drivers
  4. In Bad Weather, Drive with Caution
  5. Always Wear your Seat belt
  6. Never Drive Tired
  7. Avoid Distractions behind the Wheel
  8. Never Speed or Tailgate
  9. Always Follow Road Signs and Signals
  10. Never Drive Under the Influence of Drugs/Alcohol

If you are still feeling anxious or unlucky, you could toss some salt over your left shoulder or stash a protective charm in your vehicle.

But even more important than ridding yourself of bad luck is ensuring you’re fully covered in the event of an accident not only Friday the 13th but every other day of the year too. Enter your ZIP code below and compare a few of the top policies today!

Complete Rankings: Friday the 13th Fatalities

– Click here for the full stats and sources for each category. For all media inquiries, please email: Josh Barnes

April, Friday the 13th3311103.7+6.68+6.56%
August, Friday the 13th3347115.7+19.09+20.85%
December, Friday the 13th3379126.3+29.47+29.49%
Febuary, Friday the 13th437894.5-0.32-0.25%
January, Friday the 13th329899.3+1.80+1.13%
July, Friday the 13th3316105.3+8.35+8.31%
June, Friday the 13th4444111.0+15.23+16.09%
March, Friday the 13th326688.7-2.77-2.48%
May, Friday the 13th3351117.0+20.80+21.79%
November, Friday the 13th329096.7+5.23+6.47%
October, Friday the 13th3402134.0+30.53+29.73%
September, Friday the 13th3346115.3+18.47+18.81%

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