Females do not have more injury
road accidents on Friday the 13th
Igor Radun and Heikki Summala
BMC Public Health 2004, 4:54
Roll no: 9812
The fear of Friday the 13th
Like many human beliefs, the fear of Friday the 13th isn’t
grounded in scientific logic.
Origins of this widespread superstition
This Fear stems from two separate fears
Fear of Friday Fear of number 13th
Jesus was crucified on a Friday Judas (apostle who
betrayed Jesus) was the
13th member to arrive at
the Last Supper
Adam & Eve ate from the
forbidden fruit on a Friday
Day named after Frigg or Freya Frigg would join a coven
(Goddesses connected to marriage of witches (normally a
and fertility) and these strong female group of 12)to make a
figures posed a threat to male dominated total of 13,hence was
Christianity, hence the church vilified associated with evil
the day named after them. doings
Unlucky Friday + Unlucky 13 = Unluckier Friday.
One widely spread superstition is that Friday the 13th brings bad
In a recent nationwide study by Näyhä on the 1971–97 death
statistics in Finland he concluded that Friday the 13th might be a
dangerous day for some women, presumably because of anxiety
from superstition and, possibly, anxiolytic medications resulting in
increase in traffic deaths amongst females.
This interpretation has the following problems-
1) Author repeatedly refers to driving, wherein he also includes
water and air traffic accidents.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
2) Author’s data includes passengers killed in accidents, who
typically have no control on the task.
3) Weather conditions do not include southern coast where the
population and traffic are heavily concentrated and vicinity of
the sea increases variation in weather and road conditions.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
4) Author had a sample of Fridays the 13th by excluding only
Good Fridays. However there are plenty of holidays among
all other Fridays with quite different travel patterns and life
e.g. Midsummer Eve always falls on Friday in the second part of June,
which gives 27 such days in study period 1971–1997 during which
time there is a marked peak in alcohol consumption in Finland
5) In spite of the long study period, the data only included 41
female deaths on 43 Fridays the 13th, which means 16 deaths
more than expected from all other Fridays during the study
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM? WHAT IS YOUR BASIS FOR SAYING 16 MORE
DEATHS? KINDLY EXPLAIN IN DETAIL POINT NO.5.
Due to the shortcomings listed above, and fairly small sample size,
the results deserve reinvestigation to avoid premature conclusions
and improper interpretations which tend to promote sexist attitudes
about women drivers.
The case was reinvestigated using the national Finnish road
accident database of injury accidents for 1989–2002.
Materials and Methods
A matched design was selected which makes it possible to control
seasonal effects and to avoid the problems due to holidays.
Active participants included drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians who
actively controlled their motion in traffic and may get involved in
Nine holidays or otherwise unusual control Fridays were replaced
by the mean values of the accident variables.
24 Fridays the 13th during the study period
three of them were excluded because two were
Good Fridays and one followed a Thursday holiday
21 Fridays the 13th
HAVE CHANGED THE ALGNMENT HERE..THE 21 FRIDAYS IN CENTER
SEEMS A BIT ODD. YOU TAKE THE CALL HOW YOU WANT IT.ALSO, THIS
NEXT LINE OF COMPARED WITH PREVIOUS…. SEEMS INCOMPLETE…
HOW ABOUT “THE DATA FOR THESE TWENTY ONE FRIDAYS WAS THEN
Compared with the previous Fridays the 6th and the following
Fridays the 20th
Table 2?: The number of active participants* by gender on Fridays the 13th, the
previous (the 6th) and following (the 20th) Fridays.
Friday Total Female Total Male
6th 299.5 713.5
13th 317 824
20th 299 748.5
* Active participants included drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians who actively control
their motion in traffic and may get involved in crashes.
WHERE IS TABLE ONE?
Table 3?: The number of victims* by gender on Fridays the 13th, the previous (the 6th)
and following (the 20th) Fridays.
Friday Dead Injured Dead Male Injured Male
6th 6 (9)* 196 (290.5) 27.5 (33.5) 308.5 (372)
13th 15 (21) 214 (304) 214 (304) 340 (430)
20th 11 (13) 195.5 (296) 22.5 (25) 329.5 (418.5)
*Numbers for victims refer to active participants while those in parenthesis also
The average daily number of active participants involved in injury road crashes by gender
on the Fridays 13th and the preceding and following Fridays for 1989–2002.
This study could not find any indication of overrepresentation of
women in injury crashes on Friday the 13th and is inconsistent with
Näyhä’s results and conclusions
The data only implies that, in comparison to men, women are not
over represented in injury road accidents on Fridays 13th in
Finland for 1989–2002
This does not and cannot conclude anything about women's
performance in traffic on Fridays 13th, or about their accident risk
(given certain exposure to risk), or about the effect of superstition
on those risks
People themselves adjust their exposure to risk at several levels,
while making trip decisions, choosing transport mode, or selecting
routes to the destination
This study suggests that Näyhä's contradicting result on fatalities
is due to different sampling, non-optimal setting and chance in a
fairly small data.
It does not imply a nonexistent effect on accident risk, as no
exposure-to-risk data are available
This paper concludes that, in the Finnish traffic accident statistics
for 1989–2002, females have not incurred more injury (or fatal)
road traffic accidents on Fridays the 13th than expected, as a
driver, bicyclist or pedestrian.