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. 2002 Dec;159(12):2110-1.
doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.12.2110.

Traffic Deaths and Superstition on Friday the 13th


Traffic Deaths and Superstition on Friday the 13th

Simo Näyhä. Am J Psychiatry. .


Objective: This study compared deaths from traffic accidents on Friday the 13th with those on other Fridays in a national population.

Method: The author examined the daily deaths from traffic accidents by sex and age and the mean daily temperature in Finland, 1971-1997. Adjusted risk ratios for death on Friday the 13th versus other Fridays were obtained by negative binomial regression.

Results: In men, the adjusted risk ratio for dying on Friday the 13th, compared with other Fridays, was 1.02, but for women, it was 1.63. An estimated 38% of traffic deaths involving women on this day were attributable to Friday the 13th itself.

Conclusions: Friday the 13th may be a dangerous day for women, largely because of anxiety from superstition. The risk of traffic deaths on this date could be reduced by one-third, although the absolute gain would remain very small: only one death per 5 million person-days.

Comment in

  • Traffic accidents and Friday the 13th.
    Smith DF. Smith DF. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Nov;161(11):2140; author reply 2140. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.11.2140-a. Am J Psychiatry. 2004. PMID: 15514434 No abstract available.

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