It’s a well known superstition that Friday the 13th is unlucky – but is there truth behind it and should you really avoid driving that day?
It’s been considered unlucky at least since Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales but as with many superstitions, it’s hard to track down the origins of Friday the 13th.
It’s most likely a combination of two things:
- Friday has traditionally been an unlucky day
- 13 is an unlucky number
Two unlucky omens on a single day? Well, that surely means Friday the 13th is especially unlucky?
It’s something many people firmly believe and some even suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia – a fear of Friday the 13th.
It’s a fear which has spawned countless scary ghost stories and a very lucrative film franchise.
Friday – an unlucky day
It’s hard to think how a Friday could be unlucky. It’s the end of the working week, and many people let their hair down as they look forward to the start of the weekend.
But in early Christian times it was associated with the crucifixion, with Good Friday marking the fateful day in the calendar.
Other pre-Christian cultures celebrated it as a Sabbath – a day where you wouldn’t get the blessing of the gods – while in pagan Rome Friday was execution day.
So it was certainly an unlucky day for some!
13 – the ‘irregular’ number
The association with the number 13 on the other hand owes more to its numerical neighbour than anything else.
Twelve is often seen as a complete number because:
- there are 12 months in a year
- two 12-hour blocks make up the day
- there are 12 signs of the zodiac
- Jesus is said to have had 12 apostles
So that makes 13 irregular, and considered by many to be unlucky.
Is it really unlucky?
It’s proved very difficult to establish any solid evidence that it is unlucky.
And when it comes to driving there’s no substantial proof either way whether or not you’re more likely to have an accident on Friday 13th.
Insurers in the Netherlands looked at the claims people made and found there were in fact fewer claims on Friday 13th than any other Friday.
Others meanwhile claim that’s down to the fact people tend to avoid driving on Friday 13th so there are fewer cars on the road.
Whether you’re superstitious or not, the good news is that whatever day you decide to drive, provided you’ve got the right car insurance you’ll be covered if anything should happen.