Road Accidents

Start-of-the-weekend road deaths add new horror to Friday 13th

Friday 13 November 2009

This Friday the 13th could be particularly unlucky on the roads, according to new accident analysis from the AA and Work Wise UK as part of Commute Smart Week. With Friday being the worst day for road accidents, and November a consistently bad month for road casualties, a combination of the two is likely to make this Friday 13th a bad day.

Fatal Fridays, however, could be developing a new twist, courtesy of changing working practices, says the AA.

Drivers are most at risk on Friday afternoons and evenings on one of the unluckiest days of the year according to casualty figures. Interestingly, the peak morning rush hours and the 5 – 6pm period are becoming safer, but the afternoon and evenings are more dangerous. The late evening is particularly bad which may reflect tired drivers, longer journeys and an increase in drink/drug driving.

Overall, 10 per cent or 3,426 more road casualties happen on Fridays than other days of the week, although the morning rush-hour and the 5-6pm slot are safer than for the average weekday. From 2pm to 5pm and the early evening, road casualties on a Friday are up to 20 per cent higher than the average for the other weekdays.

But, by late evening, the casualty rate has risen to twice that of other weekdays.

"Since the turn of the millennium, Fridays have become safer, and more like the other week days. This could show a change in working practices, with more people working from home and choosing to do so on Friday. Alternatively, they may start early during the week and take off on Friday afternoon," says Edmund King, AA President.

"Hopefully, the future will see the positive aspects of these new work patterns move to the rest of the week. However, at the moment, Fridays are still dangerous, and this Friday the 13th has all the ingredients to be particularly so. Take care with what we have dubbed the Fatal Friday Phenomenon."

Phil Flaxton, Chief Executive of Work Wise UK, says: "The clocks going back signal an increase in road accidents. Deteriorating weather conditions combined with dark mornings and evenings can be bad news for road users and pedestrians.

"As part of our Commute Smart Week, Fatal Friday Phenomenon Day aims to reduce the need to travel this winter, ultimately cutting down on death and injury on our roads at this particularly dangerous time of the year ".


AA analysis of road casualties on Fridays shows

In 2008:

  • the average number killed or injured between 8 and 9am on Mondays to Thursdays was 3,097 compared to 2,731 on Friday. 366 less on Fridays
  • the average number killed or injured between 3 and 4pm on Mondays to Thursdays was 2,577 compared to 3,082 on Fridays. 505 more on Fridays
  • the average number killed or injured between 5 and 6pm on Mondays to Thursdays was 3,168 compared to 3,050 on Friday. 118 less on Fridays
  • the average number killed or injured beween 7 and 8pm on Mondays to Thursdays was 1,715 compared to 2081 on Friday. 366 more on a Fridays
  • the average number killed or injured beween 11pm and midnight on Mondays to Thursdays was 619 compared to 1199 on Friday. 580 more on a Fridays

Despite improvements during some peak periods, the 'Fatal Friday' label persists in terms of total numbers killed or seriously injured on Fridays compared to other days of the week. This is down to more traffic, people getting away for the weekend and the drink-drive effect on Friday evenings.

Over all, statistics show:

  • In 2008 the average number killed or seriously injured Mondays to Thursdays was 33,435 compared to 36,861 on Fridays. 3,426 more on Fridays
  • In 2000 the average number killed or seriously injured Mondays to Thursdays was 45,318 compared to 52,931 on Fridays. 7,613 more on Fridays

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12 November 2009