Friday the 13th - A menace for motorists

Article date: 12 April 2007

It's the day all those superstitious souls amongst us take that extra bit of care on the roads - or so you'd think! According to claims data from Norwich Union, Friday the 13th is the unluckiest day for motorists with more accidents occurring on this day than any other.

The UK's largest insurer researched claims over a five-year period*, during which time there were six Friday the 13ths, and discovered that the number of claims on these days was significantly higher (a spooky 13%) when compared to other days of the month. Conversely, all other "13ths" had less than the average number of claims.

Nigel Bartram, motor underwriting manager, Norwich Union, said: "Our analysis on dangerous days for driving has given some credence to people's superstitions regarding Friday the 13th. Though it's difficult to say for certain why this is, one reason could be that people alter their driving behaviour in response to a perceived 'unlucky' day. In reality, changing driving behaviour in reaction to a perceived risk - as opposed to a real risk, such as snow or ice - does not necessarily translate to safer driving. Therefore, by altering driving behaviour to change their 'luck', motorists may create a decidedly unlucky self-fulfilling prophecy."

In terms of overall claims value - a strong indicator of the seriousness of an accident - Friday the 13th was second behind the first day of the month. The "safest" day to drive, meanwhile, was the 26th, which saw an 8% decrease in the number of claims against an "average" day.


*All data based on claims made by Norwich Union customers between 1 January 2002 through 31 December 2006. In this period there were six "Friday the 13th's" - 13/06/03, 13/02/04, 13/08/04, 13/05/05, 13/01/06 and 13/10/06.

For further information, please contact:

Erik Nelson at Norwich Union on 01603 682264/ 07989 427086 or Chris Soult at Lexis PR on 0207 908 6475

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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