turkey behind the wheel of a car on thanksgiving day

As U.S. auto insurers gear up for a spike in accidents during Thanksgiving week travel, new research from Progressive offers a predictor of the types of claims spikes carriers will likely face and when they might happen.

Among the findings: 58.5 percent of single vehicle accidents on Black Wednesday typically involve slamming into an animal or objects. Also, the Sunday after Thanksgiving produces the highest percentage of out-of-state accidents on any day during the holiday week, as drivers head home.

Progressive’s report is based on an evaluation of Thanksgiving week claims data dating back to 2010. The auto insurance giant compared the claims to events two weeks before Thanksgiving and two weeks after, and found that Thanksgiving accidents products claims jumps at significant times.

Here are some of Progressive’s findings in detail:

  • Black Wednesday accidents jump 25 percent compared to usual, with the biggest jumps taking place in Texas (40 percent), Ohio (32 percent) and New York (29 percent).
  • Thanksgiving night accidents typically jumped 20 percent, with 35 percent of accident claims that night involving only one vehicle. Interestingly, 31 percent of accidents involved backing into something or parking. Progressive suggested the data reflected, in part, Thanksgiving-night shopping.
  • Black Friday accidents soared by 34 percent. As with Thanksgiving night, 31 percent of Black Friday claims involved backing up or parking, and were higher than any other claim type from that day.
  • Out of state accidents the Sunday after Thanksgiving were most likely to occur in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, California and North Carolina. Also, drivers from Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas were most likely to file out-of-stage accident claims.

To reduce the risk of Thanksgiving week accidents, Progressive recommends close attention to the street, designated for those who go out on Black Wednesday, and strategic store parking on Black Friday to minimize risk.

Rather than travel home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Progressive said the day after – on Monday, is actually the safest day to return home, with 37 percent fewer accidents compared to the day before.

*Source: The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies