The chance of a car accident increases on some holidays.Statistics show that there are certain days each year when it’s probably best to stay off the road. According experts, the top 10 worst days for driving include two upcoming holidays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and AAA projects that the number of travelers on U.S. roads between December 23, 2015, and January 3, 2016, will exceed 100 million for the first time. Here’s the complete list:

  1. Memorial Day: According to AAA, more families travel by car on this holiday than any other, and drive at least 50 miles from home on the average, while under the influence of alcohol, food, and distraction.
  2. Black Friday: A day when millions of shoppers hit the streets looking for bargains, Black Friday is also a day known for a high number of accidents involving rear-end collisions and fender benders in parking lots.
  3. NFL game day: It’s probably no surprise that claim frequency around professional football stadiums goes up on game day, depending, interestingly enough, on whether the home team wins (accidents decrease) or loses (accidents increase).
  4. Christmas: Another stressful holiday, Christmas combines holiday stress, busy roads, and aggressive driving tendencies.
  5. New Year’s Day: Surprisingly, New Year’s Day made the worst day to drive list, not New Year’s Eve, likely because many people celebrate well past midnight.
  6. St. Patrick’s Day: A popular drinking holiday, after midnight is the worst time to be on the road returning home after celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day.
  7. The start of Daylight Savings Time: Losing an extra hour of sleep typically contributes to a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA data.
  8. Memorial Day weekend: Many consider Memorial Day the beginning of the summer season, which is something to celebrate. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, 400 people die each year during this holiday weekend.
  9. Fourth of July: This holiday was found to be the deadliest day to be out on the road between 2000 and 2013, with over 40 percent of accidents involving at least one driver with a BAC over the limit.
  10. Friday the 13th: An unlucky day for many, including those who get into an automobile accident on this fateful day. According to an Aviva study, it doesn’t even matter which season — winter, spring, summer, or fall — Friday the 13th falls in, the collision numbers always increase on that day.

What Makes Driving on These Days Dangerous?

The holiday season is often stressful, which can keep drivers’ minds off the road and lead to accidents. For many, holiday celebrations include overindulgence in alcohol. According to NHTSA data, the number of traffic fatalities increases substantially from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve each year. To make matters worse, the holidays are also a time when those who rarely drink alcohol decide to partake and then get behind the wheel.

People naturally travel more during the holidays so that they can spend time with relatives and friends, crowding the roads and creating more obstacles for drivers to avoid. The Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays fall at the peak time for winter weather conditions, when slippery roads dramatically increase the likelihood of car crashes, particularly in cold and snowy states like Colorado. Interesting enough, travelling on the actual holidays is generally considered safer, since traffic is rather light because many stores are closed and most people have already safely arrived at their destinations.

Image by pevelpetros, under a Creative Commons license.

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