Accidents waiting to happen

Accidents waiting to happen

There are plenty of days that people should not get behind the wheel

By Jennifer Hadley 12/23/2010

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I don’t pretend to understand statistics or anything like that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be fascinated by them. So when I stumbled onto a post from a Facebook friend warning me to be careful when driving on Dec. 15, because it’s the most dangerous day on the road, my curiosity was immediately piqued. Sure enough, a little research proved he wasn’t full of it. Right there online was a press release from Allstate Insurance telling me that on that day in California accident claims rise 23 percent. On average, according to the release, Allstate receives 435 accident claims most days of the year. Then, on Dec. 15, that number jumps to 539. Holy cow!
The reason for the increase may be due to holiday shopping, or bad weather, or the ever nebulous “other distractions,” according to the release. But I am still stunned. How do we all collectively become lousy drivers on the same day? And why is it Dec. 15 and not 16?  
Since I’m not buying the whole bad weather thing, and I’m pretty sure people aren’t holiday shopping exclusively on Dec. 15, I figured I’d come up with my own reasons why certain days are more dangerous to drive than others. 
Feb. 14 is the second most dangerous day of the year to drive. This is a no-brainer. Accidents undoubtedly happen for one of two reasons. First, men are racing around to buy overpriced roses and they are angry by how much roses cost in February, so they’re feeling a bit of road rage. I imagine women crash on Valentine’s Day because they are either so excited to get home and get ready for their date, or they are so sad that they are single on Valentine’s Day that they’re just not paying attention. Tears blur your vision, you know, so that’s why she didn’t see your brake lights.
The third most dangerous day to be driving is Oct. 13. This I chalk up to the fact that 13 is an unlucky number. And October is kind of a spooky month anyway, what with goblins and witches running around. I bet that in years when the 13th falls on a Friday, the number of accidents is even higher because, come on, Friday the 13th is scary.
The fourth most dangerous day to hit the roads in California is Dec. 18. I assume that since it’s three days after the most dangerous day, people must have rental cars while their car is being repaired from the accident they just had. I’ll bet they don’t know how to manage their loaner Sentra, because they are used to driving an Escalade. And the Sentra is just too light, compared to what they are normally driving, so they rear-end the cars in front of them.
Rounding out the top five most dangerous days to drive is Sept. 5. I figure this is probably due in part to its proximity to Labor Day. Those who have to work on the holiday are angry about it, therefore they get emotional behind the wheel. Those who don’t have to work are undoubtedly looking forward to the three-day weekend, or lamenting the fact that the weekend is already over. Or they’re angry because they had to be the designated driver when everyone else was whooping it up at the barbecue. In any case, they’re not fully focused.  
And there you have it. Granted there is no science to back up of my explanations, but science is just as confusing to me as statistics. Thankfully, common sense comes a little easier to me, allowing me to sit around and dream up plausible reasons why driving on some days is riskier than others. 

Contact Jennifer Hadley at


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