This study reinvestigated the recent finding that females – but not males – die in traffic accidents on Friday the 13th more often than on other Fridays (Näyhä S: Traffic deaths and superstition on Friday the 13th. Am J Psychiatry 2002, 159: 2110–2111). The current study used matched setting and injury accident data base that is more numerous than fatality data. If such an effect would be caused by impaired psychic and psychomotor functioning due to more frequent anxiety among women, it should also appear in injury crashes.
We used the national Finnish road accident database for 1989–2002. To control seasonal variation, 21 Fridays the 13th were compared in a matched design to previous and following Fridays, excluding all holidays, on number of accidents, male/female responsibility for accidents, and the number of dead, injured and overall number of active participants (drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists) as a consequence of the accident.
There were no significant differences in any examined aspect of road injury accidents among the three Fridays, either in females or males. Women were not overrepresented in crashes that occurred on Fridays 13th.
There is no consistent evidence for females having more road traffic crashes on Fridays the 13th, based on deaths or road accident statistics. However, this does not imply a non-existent effect of superstition related anxiety on accident risk as no exposure-to-risk data are available. People who are anxious of "Black Friday" may stay home, or at least avoid driving a car.