New Data from Progressive® Insurance Shows Spike in Thanksgiving Week Wrecks

Progressive claims data gives insight on top types of claims and the safest time to travel home after the holiday

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — November 23, 2015 — Thanksgiving is recognized as one of the most heavily traveled holidays, with festivities both before and after the turkey is carved. As families prepare to hit the road this Thanksgiving week, new data from Progressive Insurance offers drivers a leg up on potential accident risks from the day before Thanksgiving (known as Black Wednesday) through Cyber Monday.

The Thanksgiving week fender bender timeline

Progressive pulled claims data from the week of Thanksgiving, dating back to 2010. When compared to the data from the two weeks before and two weeks after the holiday week, Thanksgiving week stood out, showing a jump in claims at some significant times for consumers. Findings included:

  • Black Wednesday1 accidents increased by 25 percent
    • The biggest jumps took place in Texas (40%), Ohio (32%) and New York (29%)
    • Nearly six in 10 single vehicle accidents (58.5%) on Black Wednesday involved striking an animal or object
  • Thanksgiving nightaccidents increased by 20 percent
    • 35 percent of accident claims involved only one vehicle
    • A large chunk of the accidents (31%) were backing or parking-related, perhaps indicating that shoppers were getting a head start on the midnight Black Friday sales
  • Black Friday3 accidents increased by 34 percent
    • The trend from Thanksgiving night continued, with the data showing that 31 percent of claims on Black Friday were backing or parking-related, more than any other claim type filed on that day
  • The Sunday after Thanksgiving has the highest percentage of out-of-state accidents of any day in the holiday week
    • Out-of-state accidents are most likely to occur in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, California and North Carolina.
    • Drivers from Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas are most likely to file out-of-state accident claims.

Tips for staying safe, from start to finish

Given the large increase in single car accidents on Wednesday and Thursday night, Progressive offers the following tips:

  • With the large jump in animal and objects struck in the road, try to keep a closer eye than usual on the street in front of you.
  • If you go out on Black Wednesday, be sure to get a designated driver. It's the safest way to make sure you get home safe and sound. If you're the designated driver, take a little extra caution as you get everyone home.
  • If you don't have a designated driver, get a cab or professional to drive you home. Driving is their job, so they know the roads and are used to traveling at high-traffic times.

Parking lots can be a madhouse on Black Friday. Based on its claims data, Progressive suggests taking the following steps to keep everyone safe, and even avoid common causes of parking lot dings and dents:

  • Avoid spaces beside cars parked at an angle. You may even consider steering clear of parking at the end of an aisle given the additional exposure from vehicles turning.
  • Park farther from store entrances, where it's generally less crowded, to prevent dings and scratches from car doors or shopping carts.
  • Use your eyes and mirrors—and ask your passengers to look around, too—to make sure your path is clear before you pull or back out of a parking space. This way, it's easier to avoid cars that are speeding, cutting across the lot or pulling out of parking spaces.

Finally, if you're traveling out of state or driving a long distance home, the data shows that there are much safer times to hit the road than Sunday.

  • Monday is the safest time to head home after the holidays with 37 percent fewer accidents compared to the popular travel day of the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
  • Even Saturday is a safer time to travel, with 17 percent fewer accidents compared to Sunday.

With a little bit of knowledge, you can stay safe this Thanksgiving week, and avoid having an accident ruin your holiday. For more information and an infographic detailing these and other insights, visit: To learn more about auto insurance, visit or talk to your local Progressive agent.

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—online at, by phone at 1.800.PROGRESSIVE, on a mobile device or in-person with a local agent.

Progressive provides insurance for personal and commercial autos and trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, and homes. Home insurance is underwritten by select carriers, including our majority-owned subsidiary, American Strategic Insurance (ASI).

Progressive is the fourth largest auto insurer in the country; a leading seller of motorcycle and commercial auto insurance; and through ASI, one of the top 20 homeowners carriers. 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, trade publicly at NYSE:PGR.

1Black Wednesday is defined as the time period of 8 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning
2Thanksgiving Night is defined as the time period of 8 p.m. Thanksgiving, to 3 a.m. the next Friday morning
3Black Friday is defined as the entire calendar of the Friday after Thanksgiving, 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.