Spring Wednesdays: The New Friday for Car Crashes?

A new report suggests that in the Spring, Wednesdays replace Friday as the most dangerous driving day

While this isn't directly a story on technical innovation, we thought it was an interesting reflection on how improved measurement of human behaviour can turn up odd and fascinating trends. According to analysis of data from 30,000 automotive accidents in 2006, UK accident management company Accident Exchange has discovered that although Friday is the biggest weekday for crashes throughout the rest of the year, Wednesdays take over in spring.

In other seasons, Fridays account for 17.1 percent of all accidents—perhaps due in part to the effects of tired workers on long drives escaping for the weekend, excited youths crammed into cars headed for local nightspots, or simply due to end-of-the-week drinks.

However, in Spring, Wednesdays seem to surge forward, producing 17.8% of the weekly crash total. But why? "Maybe there's an element of mid-week mini depression? Perhaps thoughts are not on the task of driving but thinking about last weekend or plans for the upcoming one," said Brian Gregory, Chairman and founder of the Association of British Drivers, "Another factor could be distraction from the changing scenery that comes with spring time."

Hump-day depression? Changing scenery? Could it be something to do with raging springtime hormones—is Wednesday a particularly ribald weekday? Or is it to do with the excitement of emerging from a dull winter—are Britons out and about enjoying the later sunset and wearing themselves down for the daily commute?

A fascinating figure to consider, isn't it, particularly given the large sample size from which data was taken. Will the trend continue this year? If not, what made Wednesdays in 2006 more dangerous? As data collection becomes wider, and analysis tools and techniques improve, we can surely look forward to more surprises that make us take a good look at our behaviour.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.