Does Friday The 13th Influence Driving Behavior?

Do you prefer buildings without 13th floors? Do you avoid black cats, ladders, and spilled salt? You might suffer from Friggatriskaidekaphobia— the fear of Friday the 13th!


When you think of Friday the 13th, images of a killer in a hockey mask may come to mind. The origins, however, go way farther back than the slasher films of the 1980s. In fact, some people think the superstition dates back to biblical times. In the Bible, Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper before Jesus’ betrayal and subsequent crucifixion. The disciple who betrayed him, Judas, was the thirteenth disciple, therefore marking 13 as an unlucky number. Norse mythology has a similar story.

According to some historians, the fear of Friday the 13th is dated back to a Friday the 13th in 1307, when King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of members of the Knight Templar. The phenomenon is also linked with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

If you’re trying to validate your fear of Friday the 13th, you do have some history to back you up: weather disasters, widespread technology viruses, stock market drops, plane accidents, and celebrity deaths have all occurred on past Friday the 13ths.

Is It Really A Deadly Day?

According to a 1993 study by the British Medical Journal, more accidents do occur on Friday the 13th. For their study, the researchers analyzed a section of London’s M25 motorway, and focused on every Friday the 13th between 1990 and 1992. Compared to the data from Friday the 6th of the same months, the chances of hospitalization increased by up to 52%. Since fewer people drive on Friday the 13th thanks to Friggatriskaidekaphobia, the increase in traffic accident does seem strange indeed!

But don’t jump to conclusions. As we wrote in a previous blog on full moon superstitions, fears might cause people to experience an illusory correlation. This is when people believe that bad things will happen on a certain day, and are therefore hyperaware of any bad things that occur. On Friday the 6th, they might not think anything of a traffic jam on their morning commute. But if the same incident occurs on Friday the 13th, they will immediately be aware of the connection.

Do you believe in the bad luck of Friday the 13th? Either way, be extra careful on the roads this Friday. You should be cautious, defensive, and alert at all times — not just Friday the 13th.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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