Wednesday before Thanksgiving: A daunting night for drivers

Progressive® Insurance claims data shows spike in accidents on "Black Wednesday"

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — November 25, 2013 — You might know to be careful on the road on New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and July 4th. However, new data from Progressive Insurance suggests there's another dangerous day to be on the road that you might not know about — Black Wednesday.

Progressive compared 2012 data from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, known as 'Black Wednesday', to other Wednesdays during the same window of time. Between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., Progressive found:

  • Parking and rear end accidents increased 24%
  • Collision claims (vehicle striking another vehicle) increased 17%
  • Property Damage claims (vehicle striking public or private property) increased 14%

The increase in claims frequency varies greatly by state on Black Wednesday. Progressive looked at a 24-hour period, pulling the states with the highest increase in frequency of claims in collision and property damage, with at least 80 accidents. Looking from 3:00 a.m. the previous day until 3:00 a.m. after Black Wednesday, the top five states for increased frequency were:

  • Maryland, up 61%
  • Oregon, up 60%
  • Illinois, up 38%
  • Iowa, up 38%
  • North Carolina, up 35%

"People count on us to take care of them when they have an accident, but we're hoping by releasing this data, we can raise awareness and help them avoid a crash in the first place," said Tricia Griffith, claims group president at Progressive. "Black Wednesday isn't a day that pops up on most people's radar, but the mixture of relatives in town, students home from school and no work the following day makes for a busy day on the roads. With a little information and greater awareness, we can all make better driving decisions."

To stay safe on the road during Black Wednesday, Progressive offered the following tips:

  • Given the increase in parking accidents, pay extra attention in parking lots, especially when backing out of spots. If you have passengers, use them as an extra set of eyes.
  • Maintain more distance than usual from the car in front of you. In the event of a sudden stop, this serves two purposes:
    • It helps you avoid rear ending the car in front of you
    • It gives you a bigger buffer to slow down and keep the car behind you from hitting your vehicle
  • If you go out on Black Wednesday, make sure you have a designated driver. If you're the designated driver, remember to drive conservatively, because not everyone is as responsible as you.
  • If you don't feel comfortable driving, call a professional. BeMyDD is a transportation service available in most states where they drive your car, so you don't have to. You can order a professional driver to operate your vehicle at an hourly rate, or reserve a team of drivers to take you and your car home safely.

If you're insured by Progressive and find yourself in an accident on Black Wednesday, visit to learn more about the claims process or file a claim.

About Progressive
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies makes it easy to understand, buy and use auto insurance. Progressive offers choices so consumers can reach us whenever, wherever and however it's most convenient for them — online at, by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, on a mobile device or in-person with a local agent.

Progressive offers insurance for personal and commercial autos and trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles and homes. It's the fourth largest auto insurer in the country, the largest seller of motorcycle insurance and a leader in commercial auto insurance. Progressive also offers car insurance online in Australia at

Founded in 1937, Progressive continues its long history of offering shopping tools and services that save customers time and money, like Name Your Price®, Snapshot®, and Service Centers.

The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR