Super Bowl Sunday: The Downside For Insurance Customers [Study]

If you live in an area that is fortunate enough to land a Super Bowl, then you know that for the short time that the NFL circus is in town, life can change significantly. Many of those changes are positive ones, namely the economic impact that it can have on local businesses. But there is also a potentially deadly effect that many people don’t consider.

In a new study of past Super Bowl events held within the state of California, it was revealed that Super Bowl Sunday “is among the most dangerous days to venture onto California roads as gatherings for the game at parties or restaurants prompt drivers to consume alcohol,” Claims Journal notes, adding that more drinking-related accidents “happen in California on the day of the National Football League championship than on any other Sunday in January and February.”

The details come from a statement distributed Monday by the California State Insurance Department. In all, game day sees a 77 percent increased risk of “alcohol-linked fatal and injury crashes.”

“Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest one-day sporting event in the United States and unfortunately one of the most dangerous days on California’s roads and highways,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in the statement. “Every one of us has a responsibility to ensure we do not contribute to the problem by allowing a drunk or drugged driver to hit the road.”

From 2009 to 2013, the state saw 294 alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes which occurred on Super Bowl Sundays, averaging around 59. Compare that to 33 for other Sundays in January and February. (This year’s game is Feb. 1.) More from Claims Journal.

“The data was compiled by the California Highway Patrol and analyzed by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The auto club is offering free tows from 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday through 6 a.m. the next morning to help prevent drinking and driving.”

“People think, ‘I’m just a little buzzed,’” said Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the insurance department. “A little buzzed is drunk, and you’re an impaired driver.”

California won’t have to worry about the big game this year as it is being played in Glendale, Arizona, but the California study is an eye-opening one for any insurance customers living in an area likely to get a Super Bowl in the future. And as an insurance agent, you can probably see a broader appeal in the figures than just the Super Bowl.

Any time that the area where one lives host a major event — sporting, concert, or otherwise — motorists can expect to see more foot and auto traffic. In order to not become a claim, they should keep the following factors in mind.

It’s not just the other driver you have to keep in mind. It’s also the pedestrian. With events like the Super Bowl, many people unfamiliar with the city can step off a curb, unsuspectingly, into the path of an oncoming automobile. Just as one would use defensive driving in anticipating what a semi-truck is about to do out on the Interstate, one should try to anticipate the movements of pedestrians when traveling.

Also, defensive driving is essential when you’re sharing the roadways with people who may be tourists to the city. The lack of familiarity, as with foot traffic, makes the likelihood of an accident-causing driving mistake that much more prevalent.

It may also be a good idea to treat the major event like it’s a snowstorm. Head to the grocery store about a week before the circus arrives, stock up on groceries, and do your best to stay indoors — or at least stay on the opposite side of town — until the traffic congestion clears up.


In Summary

Make no mistake. Getting a Super Bowl in your city is overall a good thing. It helps businesses, which can create more jobs and get more people back to work. But as residents, insurance leads and customers must know that these types of events bring with them a significantly higher amount of unfamiliarity, bad driving, etc. To not become a statistic, use the most caution that you can, and good luck!

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