Deadliest cities for driving on St. Patrick’s Day

Don't push your luck by driving at night on Shamrock Day.

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Chicago's river during Saint Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t cause drivers any more danger than normal, everyday cruising and commuting, according to data we collected from 2004 to 2018. But the time and day of the week do influence how many fatal car accidents happen during the Irish holiday.

Driving fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day

Could the luck of the Irish be keeping St. Patrick’s Day fatal car crashes at bay?

The holiday totals nearly 1,400 fatal car crashes between 2004 to 2018, which averages to 100 each year. Those numbers look small considering the average 100 daily car crashes that happen on other days throughout the year.

Other holidays see far more fatal crashes to the tune of hundreds per holiday. For example, New Year’s Day totals around 250 fatal crashes and Christmas Day reaches over 300.

Fatal car crashes on St. Patrick’s Day 2004 to 2018

YearTotal number of fatal crashes
2018108
201797
201697
201575
201475
201378
2012111
201173
201093
200964
200886
2007114
2006114
200595
200488
Total1,368

Most dangerous cities for driving on St. Patrick’s Day

Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix top the list as the least safe for driving during St. Patty’s Day celebrations. These cities have a skyrocketing number of residents, making the roads more packed for driving overall.

Also, you’ll see a few cities listed here known for their shamrock celebrations, including Chicago and Las Vegas. That could mean more people are driving to St. Patrick’s Day festivities or partaking in drinking events.

Top 9 cities with fatal car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day

StateFatal car crashes
Los Angeles23
Houston13
Phoenix13
Chicago13
Detroit9
Las Vegas9
Columbus6
Birmingham6
Oklahoma City6

Most dangerous states to drive in on St. Patrick’s Day

Florida, California and Texas stand at a different level than all other states with their car crash fatalities hovering around 130. Since these consistently ride at the top as the worst states for driving on any day, you can expect these areas to be dangerous for St. Patrick’s Day in 2020.

A few states to note: Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio host St. Patrick’s Day festivities that could lead to distraction and more people on the roads.

Top 11 states with fatal car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day 2004 to 2018

StateFatal crashes
Florida133
California130
Texas129
Georgia54
North Carolina47
Pennsylvania47
Ohio46
Tennessee44
South Carolina42
Alabama41
Arizona41

Drunk driving on St. Patrick’s Day

Many people couldn’t fathom St. Patrick’s Day without an Irish pub, or at least a few green beers. But while drunk driving has been the leading cause of about one-third of fatal crashes, that number stays consistent with drunk driving fatalities across the rest of the year.

Speeding a top cause of fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day

Speeding comes slightly below drunk driving as a top cause for serious St. Patty’s Day accidents. It has led to 400 fatal crashes from 2004 to 2018.

These numbers are a good reason why drivers see high penalties for speeding from police and car insurance companies. Despite the holiday’s good vibes, celebrators should slow down so as not to push their luck while driving.

Worst time to drive on St. Patrick’s Day

When St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekend, you can expect more fatal car crashes than on other days of the week. During the two years St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday, the holiday saw 333 total fatal car crashes. However, you can rest a bit easier this year, since St. Patrick’s Day 2020 falls on a Tuesday.

If you’re celebrating the holiday, avoid driving at night. Driving between 9 p.m. and midnight sees the most fatal crashes, and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. sees the second-highest number. Nighttime is a notoriously risky time to drive, and the distraction of festivities and intoxication could explain the rise for fatal car crashes during these hours.

Protect yourself on St. Patrick’s Day with car insurance

St. Patrick’s Day ranks surprisingly low as a dangerous holiday for driving. In fact, its average number of fatalities stays consistent with the average for any day in the year. But since driving any day still comes with a host of dangers, you might look for car insurance with enough coverage to meet your everyday needs.

How did we find these stats?

Using the NHTSA Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool, we looked up data for fatal car accidents on March 17th from 2004 through 2018. The tool allowed us to choose a variety of different criteria to create a specialized report.

The criteria we looked at included total fatal crashes for any day between 2004 to 2018 compared to total crashes for March 17. Next, we compared the numbers across different states and counties. We chose counties that included the largest city in each state.

Then, we compared the worst times for driving, including the days of the week and times of day in three-hour increments. Finally, we looked at several types of violations like speeding, drunk driving and distracted or drowsy driving.

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