In every calendar year, at least one and at most three Fridays fall on a thirteenth. For some, such a day is considered an unlucky day and there is even a word that describes the fear of the number 13: triskaidekaphobia. This superstition, which only emerged in the 20th century, may have its origins in Christianity: Jesus is said to have been crucified on a Friday and his betrayer Judas was the 13th disciple.
As is so often the case with fears, a look at the statistics can help to mitigate them. The insurer Zurich and the automobile club ADAC have evaluated figures on damage and car accidents and each come to the conclusion that so-called unlucky Fridays are not particularly different from all other Fridays.
E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers
In 2022, the insurer reports: The number of claims from a Friday the 13th is on a long-term average at a similar level as on all other Fridays. Apparently, however, the statistics show an effect that could be traced back to superstition.
The long-term average shows that on all Fridays that do not fall on the 13th, an average of eight percent more damage is reported than on the other days of the week. So maybe people are extra cautious on Friday the 13th.
In the official accident statistics, the ADAC does not find any major special features for a Friday the 13th either. In 2018, for example, there were 957 accidents involving personal injury on April 13 and 1123 on July 13. The Friday average for 2018 is 971, so the values were once below and once above.
You have to know that July is one of the months with the most accidents, as traffic is higher in summer than in winter.
The data for the years 2019 and 2020 also show no abnormalities with regard to Fridays that fall on a 13th:
According to the ADAC, there are more car accidents on Fridays (whether the 13th or not) than on any other day of the week, in 2018 it was around 15 percent more than the weekly average. The streets are just busier on Fridays because of commuters and day-trippers.
So, on Fridays, you need to be extra careful on the road, but there is a simple, rational explanation for that.