Claims Spike On Black Wednesday, New Study Shows!

Black Friday. It’s a day to hit the stores and (hopefully) pick up some deals on all the latest stuff that will probably be outdated in another six months. With all the excitement and anticipation of this special day, it can be easy to lose sight of another not-so-happy day: Black Wednesday.

This reference is to the travel day leading up to Thanksgiving. Many people don’t realize that Black Wednesday comes with a surge in accidents, but a new study from Progressive has illuminated just how serious the risks actually are.

Using data from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2012, Progressive compared their findings to Wednesdays throughout the rest of the year. Not surprisingly, the insurer found the following:

*Parking and rear-end accidents increased 24 percent

*Collision claims (vehicle striking another vehicle) increased 17 percent

*Property Damage claims (vehicle striking public or private property) increased 14 percent

State Offenders

Those were average numbers for the entire United States. On a state level, some states far exceeded the average. Progressive examined a 24-hour period and pulled the states with the highest increase in claims frequency for collision and property damage (with a minimum of 80 accidents). Under this microscopic evaluation, the company found the top five offenders to be Maryland (up 61 percent), Oregon (up 60 percent), Illinois and Iowa (both up 38 percent), and North Carolina (up 35 percent).

“People count on us to take care of them when they have an accident, but we’re hoping by releasing this data, we can raise awareness and help them avoid a crash in the first place,” said Tricia Griffith, Progressive claims group president. “Black Wednesday isn’t a day that pops up on most people’s radar, but the mixture of relatives in town, students home from school, and no work the following day makes for a busy day on the roads. With a little information and greater awareness, we can all make better driving decisions.”

Progressive offered the following suggestions for avoiding becoming a Black Wednesday statistic.

First, Be Extra Careful In Parking Lots.

Pointing to the increase in parking accidents, the company recommends paying extra attention in parking lots, especially when backing out of spots. “If you have passengers, use them as an extra set of eyes,” the company stated.

Second, Keep Your Distance.

Maintaining more distance than usual from the car in front of you will help you avoid the fallout from the other car making any sudden stops. In most states, you’re the at-fault driver if you rear-end someone, regardless of how poorly the person ahead of you may be driving. By keeping a safe distance, you can avoid driving into someone’s back seat, and you can reduce the chances of being rear-ended yourself.

Third, Get A Designated Driver.

Progressive recommends a designated driver if you decide to go out on a Black Wednesday. “If you’re the designated driver, remember to drive conservatively, because not everyone is as responsible as you.”

Very true. And while you may not end up paying anything out-of-pocket for the damage another vehicle does to yours, it’s a hassle that isn’t worth the trouble.

Services like BeMyDD are available in most states. These allow you to order a professional driver to operate your vehicle at an hourly rate.

In Summary

Thanksgiving is a time for family to gather together under one roof and enjoy a meal and fellowship with one another. However, this creates more travel scenarios than usual, and it can lead to some traffic situations that range from mildly annoying fender benders to life-threatening accidents. Progressive’s data shows an undeniable increase in the amount of incidents, and so it is ever more important to be on your guard against other cars when hitting the roadways to go visit family. Wherever you are and wherever you’re going, always know there are risks you have to watch out for. Increasing your awareness will decrease your risks. Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

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