It’s Friday the 13th – Should You Worry about Bad Luck and Accidents?
Friday the 13th evokes terrifying images of danger and fear in a surprising number of people all over the world. The fear stems from a wide range of sources, from the Old Testament to a cult-classic slasher film franchise from the 1980s, and it results in extreme changes in behavior from refusing to step foot on an airplane to refusing to step foot out of bed.
In fact, the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina estimates that losses of nearly $800 million in business revenue occur on Fridays that fall on the 13th – losses that can be attributed to superstition and fear.
In response to this surprising phenomenon, one insurance company in Sweden, Trygg Hansa, set out to prove that Friday the 13th is no different than any other day when it comes to accidents and claims. What the research actually proved is that this often-dreaded date is actually one of the safest days on the calendar.
The study took into account five years’ worth of accidents and statistics relating to car accidents, fire and theft totaling more than 2 million claims. The final report stated that “Fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than other Fridays.” Additionally, the average number of traffic accidents and claims reported on Fridays the 13th was more than 300 fewer than other Fridays.
One explanation for the drop in numbers could be the more than 25 million “paraskevidekatriaphobes” – people who suffer from a morbid or irrational fear of Friday the 13th and opt to stay home, away from danger. It’s also not uncommon for other, less suspicious people to subconsciously take more preventive measures on this ominous date, which could actually make our homes and roads safer.
Another, less dramatic explanation is that there really isn’t anything special about Friday the 13th. In fact, according to another study from the University of San Diego, the 4th may actually be the most dangerous date, with a surprising spike in accidents and deaths occurring on this day every month.
And (not surprisingly) the day of the week proven to be most hazardous to your health? Monday.