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Is Friday 13th really unlucky for drivers?

Is Friday 13th really unlucky for drivers?

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As Friday 13th approaches ; if you won’t walk under a ladder and panic when a black cat crosses your path, then you're probably staying indoors.

Are you superstitious?

If you won’t walk under a ladder and panic when a black cat crosses your path, then you probably think Friday 13th is a day to be feared.

It’s a date considered to be unlucky across the globe, but is it really and why does Friday 13th have such a bad reputation?


Why do people believe Friday 13th is unlucky?

It seems that Friday 13th is the perfect storm of two things people have long considered to bring bad luck; the number 13 and Friday.

There are many ideas as to why the number 13 has such a bad reputation; amongst those some have more believable than others. Many think it stems from the bible; Judas betrayed Jesus and it’s thought that he was the 13th person to take his seat at the Last Supper.

Lepnardo da Vinci painting of the Last Supper

There’s another dinner party related reason too; in Norse Mythology, the Gods dinner party was ruined by Loki, who was the 13th guest, he caused the world to be plunged into darkness, which is off-putting, even when you’re presented with delicious food!


Combine this much feared number with Friday, which for untold years has been considered the unluckiest day of the week. As far back as the 14th Century, when Geoffrey Chaucer was writing the famous Canterbury Tales he said “and on a Friday fell all this mischance”.

Blakes engraving of the Canterbury Pilgrims

It probably didn’t help that public hangings often used to take place on a Friday, leading to it being known as Hangman’s Day and the demise of the Knights Templar began on Friday 13th too; Friday 13th October, 1307, to be precise, when scores of them were arrested at the behest of King Philip, they were then tortured and killed.

Knights Templars being burnt to death

Combine all these together and it’s easy to see why Friday 13th has become, for many, a day to avoid; there’s even a name to describe the fear of this doubly unlucky day, paraskevidekatriaphobia!


Are you more likely to have a car accident on Friday 13th?

But is any of this superstition warranted? Should we be worried? Should we leave our car keys on the coffee table and crawl under the duvet?

Delving into the DVLA Road Safety Data available from 2005 - 2016 we’ve come up with an answer, which may surprise you; you are statistically more likely to have a road traffic accident on a Friday 13th.

Metallic grey car which has had an accident and the boot is crumpled up over the bonnet

In fact Friday is the worst day of the week for accidents, with almost 18% more accidents happening on a Friday than on an average day. So, it seems Friday really is an unlucky day.

The 13th on its own is not an unlucky number, with no statistical increase in accidents on the 13th of the month; however, combine it with a Friday and you’re 14% more likely to have an accident on Friday 13th than any other 13th of the month.

Accidents on Friday 13th are also 8% more likely to result in a fatality and indeed you’re 15% more likely to have an accident on Friday 13th than any other day of the year.

Looking at these statistics it seems like maybe there is something unlucky about Friday 13th, so possibly it’s a good job that after Friday 13th July, 2018, the next one won’t happen until Friday 13th September 2019!


The data used can be accessed here:

https://data.gov.uk/dataset/cb7ae6f0-4be6-4935-9277-47e5ce24a11f/road-safety-data